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NYT Editorial: New Plan is “Primarily a Transportation Project”

madison square gardenThe New York Timeseditorial board writes that the “general agreement” reached between Governor Paterson, Senator Charles Schumer and Amtrak indicates a “concrete step” on building Moynihan Station. They also describe how the plan, and priorities, have changed in a positive way; “Instead of an elaborate mix of shopping, housing, sports arena and, oh, yes, a railroad station, the new plan is a primarily a transportation project.” The complete editorial is reprinted below. Moynihan Station, Maybe Commuters who endure New York’s gloomy Pennsylvania Station could be forgiven for shrugging off the latest press conference about a splendid replacement finally in the works. For two decades, we have had these promises, often accompanied by exquisite architectural drawings and elaborate talking points. What may be different now is that there are no models and no razzle-dazzle, only an actual concrete step toward finally moving the station into the elegant old Farley Post Office. Senator Charles Schumer, Gov. David Paterson and Joe Boardman, Amtrak’s president and chief executive, announced this week that there is a “general agreement” that Amtrak will move its operation into the old Farley building. If that deal really happens, this is a major step forward. Almost 20 years ago, Amtrak agreed to be part of turning the Farley building into New York City’s prime railroad hub. If the station could be as grand as Washington’s Union Station, for example, it would add luster to the railroad experience. But after a decade, Amtrak pulled out of whatever deal was still on the table. If the new agreement with Amtrak stands, it means Mr. Schumer has helped assure the passenger railroad that it won’t lose revenue by moving its main operations into the post office. And it means the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Mr. Paterson’s people have adjusted the focus of the entire development. Instead of an elaborate mix of shopping, housing, sports arena and, oh, yes, a railroad station, the new plan is a primarily a transportation project. For that reason, the first step will be making the train and commuter traffic work better underground. This next stage would cost about $270 million and take up to five years as the engineers make it easier for passengers and trains to move through and around the area under the post office. That first phase would, we hope, make it possible to build the showy part above ground — the elegant, sunlit hall for passengers. Then, that station can finally be named for the man who championed the whole idea: Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Read Moynihan Station, Maybe in the New York Times.