Penn 2023: Why Now?

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Historic Opportunity to Shape the Future

New York has the historic opportunity to shape the future of Manhattan’s west side.

In the summer of 2013, at the urging of MAS, RPA, and many others, the New York City Council voted to limit Madison Square Garden’s permit to operate on top of Penn Station to just 10 more years.

There is also an urgent need to add additional new trans-Hudson tunnel capacity. The current 100-year-old tunnels, which carry more than 160,000 passengers in and out of Penn Station every day, are operating at their maximum capacity, and have never been able to be shut down for needed major repairs.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy exponentially increased that urgency. The storm flooded the current trans-Hudson tunnels with thirteen million gallons of seawater, corroding electrical systems, rails, and the concrete lining of the tunnels. The tunnels will continue to corrode, as seen by incidents like on August 19, 2004, where a piece of the concrete wall fell onto the tracks, causing massive delays into and out of Manhattan.

The tunnels need to be closed in as little as seven years to address their rapid deterioration. This would slash train service by up to 75 percent during the busiest periods of the day, even while ridership continues to grow.