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Monday, September 14, 2009

Amtrak agrees to join makeover of post office as Moynihan Station

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Amtrak is back on board. After six months of negotiations with state and city officials, the railroad agreed to join the long-delayed makeover of Farley Post Office as Moynihan Station, according to the New York Daily News.

"This is a major breakthrough," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who led the negotiations, said. Amtrak, which dropped out of the W. 33rd St. redevelopment several years ago, came back because it needs space to expand and was promised a share of the project's revenues, he said.

The project, conceived a decade and a half ago by the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan, will turn the post office into a railway terminal evoking the grandeur of the old Penn Station, which was torn down in 1963.

"The building of Moynihan Station will provide the grand entrance that this great city deserves," Amtrak President Joe Boardman said.

A prior plan that called for the relocation of Madison Square Garden and massive office tower construction is not part of the new deal.

Before work can get under way, city, state and federal officials must decide who pays for what, Schumer said. He's pushing for stimulus funds to help bankroll the cost - projected between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion.

Mayor Bloomberg was noncommittal yesterday about the city's role in the project.

Still, Schumer said he was unfazed.

"Everyone wants to have the other guy put in more money," said Schumer. "It's going to be my job to get everyone at the table, and each person to live up to their responsibilities."