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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feds kick-start NYC train-station project

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Sidetracked for nearly four years, an ambitious plan to convert the Farley Post Office into a train station named after Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan got a jump-start when the federal government kicked in $83.3 million in stimulus funds to put the project back on track, the New York Daily News reports. The funding gives the state the $267 million it needs to begin Moynihan Station's first phase, which will create new access to rail platforms beneath the post office and expanded rail facilities in Penn Station across the street.

"We've got the money, now let's get to work," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been the chief backer of the project in Washington since Moynihan left office in 2000. "Moynihan Station is the poster child for the best way to use federal funding -- it creates jobs, upgrades aging transportation infrastructure and leaves behind an economic engine for the entire region."

Construction will begin later this year and is expected to be completed by 2015. The project will create about 400 construction jobs annually.

As many as 13 new stairways and escalators and six new elevators will help speed passengers to and from trains both in the western end of Penn Station and to new platforms under the post-office building.

Two new entrances at the corners of the post office, at 31st and 33rd streets on the west side of Eighth Avenue, will be the first direct link to the new Moynihan Station, which will primarily serve Amtrak, but will also provide access to the Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit.

A second, larger project that will create an enormous train hall inside the post-office building -- complete with retail shops, restaurants and, possibly, a hotel -- will come later.

A date hasn't been set for the second phase, but it is expected to cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

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