A federal TIGER grant approved today ensures that at least the first phase of the Moynihan Station proposal will see the light of day. (Rendering via Friends of Moynihan Station)
After years of proposals, politicking and promises, Moynihan Station is finally poised to become something of a reality. Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Schumer, long a champion of the Penn Station expansion project, announced an $83 million TIGER grant for the station, and the money closes the Phase I budget gap. Construction will commence before the end of 2010.
As Elana Schor at Streetsblog DC details, the grant is part of the Obama Administration’s competitive $1.5 billion Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery program, and New York’s plan is the first bid winner. This award is a clean sign of the federal Department of Transportation’s move toward a more merit-based funding solution. “Moynihan Station is the poster child for the best way to use federal funding,” Schumer said. “It creates jobs, upgrades aging transportation infrastructure, and leaves behind an economic engine for the entire region.”
With this $83.3 million grant in place, the Moynihan Station now has a guaranteed $267 million set aside for it. The breakdown, per a press release is as follows: $110 million in previously earmarked federal funding, $35 million from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, $14 million from the State of New York, and $10 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
So what then does $267 million buy at the planned site of a new transportation hub? Unfortunately, not very much. Per Friends of Moynhian Station, the money will go toward:
- Building two new entrances to Penn Station’s platforms from West of Eighth Avenue through the corners of the Farley Building;
- Doubling the length and width of the West End Concourse;
- Providing 13 new “vertical access points” (escalators, elevators and stairs) to the platforms;
- Doubling the width of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse and;
- Other critical infrastructure improvements including platform ventilation and catenary work.
Phase II, construction of the train hall in the Farley Building, will be independently funded and is currently estimated to cost between $1 and $1.5 billion. The Friends of Moynihan Station stress that all Phase I elements will be independently functional in the very likely event that Phase II doesn’t get off the ground any time soon.
Still, long-term advocates of the station were thrilled with today’s developments. “We’re very pleased this critical project is finally getting underway, after years of delay,” Bob Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, said. “There is no more important project for creating needed transportation capacity in the regional rail system and for catalyzing the redevelopment of New York’s Far West Side.”