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Dare We Start Feeling Optimistic?

penn stationThe Times’ editorial board thinks there may be hope that the dream of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and now Senator Schumer, may be realized. With the leadership of Senator Schumer, federal stimulus money and a major role of the Port Authority, New Yorker’s may finally get the train station they deserve. Below is their statement in its entirety. The Senators’ Railway Station After years of starts and stalls, replacing New York City’s gloomy, subterranean Pennsylvania Station with an elegant transit hub suddenly looks possible again. Veterans of this project and its many iterations see a glimmer of hope that the grand old Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue can still be converted into a splendid new railroad hall named for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That renewed hope is there for two main reasons. First, Washington is handing out money. Second, Senator Charles Schumer, New York’s high-energy force on Capitol Hill, has moved the Moynihan project up on his priority list. In a speech last week to business leaders, Senator Schumer laid out a cogent plan for making the new station come to life. Amtrak’s new leadership would have to play a major role and agree to make Moynihan the point of departure and arrival for its Northeast Corridor trains. As a grand open hall — more a renovation with a new skylight than some of the dramatic and complicated schemes of the past — Farley would then become the uplifting gateway to New York City. The overall scheme would also allow for major renovations to the existing Penn Station, now an intolerably confusing maze. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would also be asked to play a major role. The authority has many items on its to-do list, including rebuilding at ground zero and creating a new tunnel under the Hudson from New Jersey. But as Mr. Schumer and others argue, it makes sense for the authority to coordinate what is essentially a major Midtown transportation project. Mr. Schumer suggests, rightly, that the authority could contribute at least $1 billion of the money it now has earmarked for city projects. That would be added to $250 million designated for Moynihan that’s been sitting in the bank for years. Finally, Mr. Schumer and others want to move swiftly to get their hands on some of the money for high-speed rail and Amtrak included in the new stimulus package. Mr. Schumer’s point, and one that deserves repeating, is that in the Great Depression, New Yorkers went for the sky. They built the Empire State Building. Now it’s time to reach again, to use the present economic crisis to fulfill Senator Moynihan’s enduring dream of a great railway entrance into New York City. Read The Senators’ Railway Station in the New York Times.