Gov. Cuomo urges pres­i­dent to pro­vide emer­gency funds for Penn Sta­tion re­pairs

Metro USA (New York) - - News -

New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo on Sun­day urged Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to treat dis­rup­tions in train ser­vice at Man­hat­tan’s Penn­syl­va­nia Sta­tion as an emer­gency and pro­vide fed­eral as­sis­tance to fix “de­plorable” conditions at the tran­sit hub.

Cuomo said 600,000 daily com­muters who use rail ser­vice at Penn faced a “sum­mer of agony” if es­sen­tial track re­pairs were left un­der the con­trol of Am­trak, which op­er­ates the na­tion’s busiest train sta­tion. In ad­di­tion to Am­trak’s in­ter­city ser­vice, trains op­er­ated by New Jer­sey Tran­sit and the Long Is­land Rail Road run into and out of the sta­tion.

“I re­quest that the fed­eral govern­ment treat this as an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and pro­vide fund­ing for the short­term Penn con­struc­tion and trans­porta­tion al­ter­na­tives and fa­cil­i­ta­tion of a long-term res­o­lu­tion for Penn Sta­tion,” Cuomo wrote in a let­ter to Trump that the gov­er­nor’s of­fice re­leased in an email.

The sub­se­quent over­crowd­ing of the mid­town Man­hat­tan sta­tion has cre­ated “near riot” conditions for stranded com­muters, Cuomo said.

“I have re­ferred to the sta­tion as re­mind­ing me of the Cat­a­combs — claus­tro­pho­bic, threat­en­ing and crum­bling,” wrote Cuomo, con­sid­ered a likely con­tender for the 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

Cuomo, who has emerged as a cham­pion of New York in­fras­truc­ture projects in his two terms as gov­er­nor, urged Trump to con­sider in­clud­ing an over­haul of the sta­tion in his $1 tril­lion plan for fed­eral in­fras­truc­ture in­vest­ments.

As an al­ter­na­tive to

Am­trak, “we would be open to con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of op­tions,” said Cuomo, not­ing the Port Author­ity of New York & New Jer­sey could do a bet­ter job at over­see­ing the nec­es­sary re­pairs and ren­o­va­tions. The Port Author­ity op­er­ates the re­gion’s air­ports and many of its bridges and tun­nels.

He raised doubts about Am­trak’s pledge to com­plete nec­es­sary track re­pairs in six weeks this sum­mer, a project that will re­quire a 20 per­cent re­duc­tion in train ser­vice dur­ing

peak hours.

“Even if true, this will be a sum­mer of agony as thou­sands of com­muters would be sig­nif­i­cantly in­con­ve­nienced and al­ter­na­tive routes and means would be swamped,” Cuomo wrote.

Since his elec­tion in 2011, Cuomo has presided over the long-de­layed open­ing of New York’s Sec­ond Av­enue sub­way, a ren­o­va­tion of LaGuardia Air­port and re­place­ment of the Tap­pan Zee Bridge across the Hud­son River, among other projects.

GETTY IMAGES

Evening com­muters make their way to­ward a New Jer­sey Tran­sit train plat­form at Penn Sta­tion.

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