Cuomo’s $5.6 billion LIRR Plan: New Hudson tunnel, Penn-Farley complex, transformed Jamaica hub & improved service to Brooklyn
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday a $5.6 billion infrastructure plan, encompassing 100 capital projects, to upgrade and transform the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).
A major part of the plan is to build a new Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey. New York needs a federal partnership to make this part of the plan — known as the Gateway Project — happen, Cuomo said in a speech at the Long Island Association meeting in Woodbury.
Gateway would be accompanied by the development of the new Penn-Farley Complex, featuring the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall. The Penn-Farley complex is the old Farley post office across the street from Penn Station.
“They’ve been talking about turning it into a train hall for 30 years. It was a dream of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan to make it a train hall,” Cuomo said. “Well, we’re doing it. The Farley Post Office building is being converted into a train hall, 255,000 square feet, it will be bigger than Grand Central Terminal. It will be beautiful because the Farley building is really architecturally magnificent. We’ve signed an agreement, it’s underway and it’s going to open in 2020. It will replace Penn Station, and the best thing that could happen to a Long Island Railroad commuter is they never have to walk into Penn Station again.”
Service to Brooklyn to Improve
The renovation of the Jamaica terminal — which handles virtually all LIRR traffic but hasn’t been upgraded for more than 100 years — will improve service to Brooklyn stations, including Atlantic Terminal, Nostrand Avenue and East New York. Renovation has already begun, Cuomo said.
“We’re designing future tracks and signal reconfiguration, higher speeds, switches and new signals, new platforms, so Jamaica can be a real hub that can bring people, not just to Penn, but also downtown and also to Brooklyn,” Cuomo said. The renovated Jamaica station would be able to accommodate longer trains, “twelve-car-length trains that can get more people on them, move more people faster.”
Other projects include installing a 10-mile-long Main Line third track from Floral Park to Hicksville, and a double track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, recently approved. A Jamaica Station reconstruction is in the works. Projects also include the renovation of 39 LIRR stations and grade crossing eliminations.
Cuomo said the result of all this would be an 81 percent increase in ridership capacity during the evening rush hour, and a 67 percent increase in the morning rush hour, along with fewer traffic fatalities.
With transit-oriented developments all across the island, Long Island would become more attractive to millennials, who commute more than other generations via mass transit, the governor said.
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