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Green Light for Moynihan Station

Moynihan Station

One of the Municipal Art Society’s most urgent priorities for New York – the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office to Moynihan Station – took a significant step forward today, when US Senator Charles Schumer announcedthat the federal government will award $83 million in stimulus funds to begin the first phase of the project.

MAS President Vin Cipolla welcomed the news. “With today’s announcement, the federal government is recognizing what the Municipal Art Society has long known, that the construction of a new train station is critical to the future economies of New York City and State. The new station will create construction jobs in the near term; improve the capacity of Penn Station and the whole Northeast Corridor; and, once complete, will be a catalyst for development on Manhattan’s far West Side,” he said.

“It was more than a decade ago that the Municipal Art Society began working with Senator Moynihan to conceive of a new station that would reclaim Penn Station’s lost grandeur and create a great new gateway into New York City,” he continued. “By awarding Moynihan Station this grant, the federal government is not only achieving its goals of creating jobs and improving the nation’s rail infrastructure, but also helping to create a station that will make all New York proud.”

Plans for Moynihan Station include the construction of a new train hall for Amtrak in the Farley Post Office, just across the street from Penn Station and over the same tracks. Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit will continue to operate in Penn Station, but will have greater capacity once the train hall is complete.

With the announcement of the grant, Phase 1 of the project is fully funded at $270 million. Work in Phase 1 includes expanding the passageway below 33rd Street between Penn Station and Farley’s west end concourse, which will double their width, increasing capacity and providing access to subways and the new New Jersey Transit station. Two additional entrances into the Farley building on Eighth Avenue will be created. Other work includes improving safety by adding six new ventilation fan rooms as well as expanding egress. Phase 1 is expected to begin this year and last until 2015.

The current plan for Moynihan Station places the highest priority on improving the station’s infrastructure and developing the civic spaces. With Amtrak agreeing the be the station’s primary tenant, the station will serve intercity rail passengers and alleviate crowding at Penn Station, which is operating at 100 percent over capacity. Penn Station is the nation’s most heavily trafficked gateway, with more than 640,000 people a day moving through its corridors.