The plan for Metro-North Railroad to provide service into Penn Station on Manhattan’s east side moved onto an express track today when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the federal government has signed off on the project and given its approval to publication of a draft environmental review so that the public can see it and make comments, which is a procedural requirement.
Cuomo said that the project, which had been suspended because of the pandemic and MTA funding uncertainties, will now resume.
In addition to sending New Haven line trains on a route into and out of Penn Station, the plan would add four Metro-North stations in the Bronx. The cost of expanding the service has been estimated at $1.58 billion.
Cuomo held a news conference in the Bronx, which was attended by elected officials from the borough. He announced that a new request for proposals (RFP) was being issued to lay the groundwork for getting construction underway on the Bronx stations and making upgrades to tracks in the area.
“The train is on the move,” Cuomo said. “This is not a proposal. This is not a dream. This is not a ‘we’re going to try, we’re going to hope.’ This is happening and it’s happening now.”
Cuomo said that an additional 160 trains a day would be going into Penn Station. “The RFP goes out today and an environmental assessment. We’re going to award the project next year. It’s going to be completed in four years, 2025. It’s going to happen in our lifetimes,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the entire region will be transformed once Metro-North service into and out of Penn Station is up and running.
Cuomo praised Westchester County Executive George Latimer who has been a longtime advocate of Metro-North providing service to Penn Station.
“Why would Westchester care? It’s good for Westchester but more because it was the right thing,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to be transformative for these commuters, the entire Bronx, the entire region.”
Passengers along the New Haven line would be able to take trains that follow the existing route and make stops in Connecticut and Westchester, stop at the new East Bronx stations at Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-Op City, and then follow the route now traveled by some Amtrak trains in the northeast corridor over the Hell Gate Bridge into Queens. From there, the Metro-North trains would merge with the Long Island Rail Road’s route into the East River tunnels and underneath Manhattan into Penn Station.
The MTA has said it will be using a design-build process for this project whereby a single consortium will be responsible for both the design and construction. It was the technique used in the project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge with the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and on an expansion project for the LIRR.
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