New York's Penn Station Overhaul Seen With Biden’s Infrastructure Push

Commuters and travelers in and out of New York’s Pennsylvania Station could have more stairs and escalators, expansive corridors, elevated ceilings and bright, natural light as they rush to catch trains and subways.

That’s the vision for transforming Penn Station into a 21-century transportation hub that officials detailed Wednesday during a Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting. The rebuilt station, called the Empire Station Complex, will serve 830,000 daily users in 2038, up from 600,000 before the pandemic, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

New York's Penn Station Overhaul Seen With Biden’s Infrastructure Push

The transportation center will serve the Gateway Project, which U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said he’s prioritizing because of its significance to the national economy. It will double the rail capacity between New Jersey and midtown Manhattan by building a new tunnel under the Hudson River and rehabilitating an existing tube.

The plan to transform Penn Station comes as President Joe Biden is urging Congress to consider a $2 trillion infrastructure package that includes money for transportation needs throughout the U.S.

“Penn Station speaks so powerfully to the climate goals and the equity goals that the Biden administration has set forth so strongly,” Janno Lieber, MTA’s chief development officer, said Wednesday during the agency’s monthly board meeting.

Penn Station currently serves Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the MTA”s subway system and its Long Island Railroad. MTA plans to expand Metro-North Railroad service, which connects the city to its northern suburban communities, into Penn Station as well.

New York's Penn Station Overhaul Seen With Biden’s Infrastructure Push

Renderings show a new Penn Station unrecognizable to the current facility, with corridors double the current width, raised ceilings, significantly more natural light, and expanded entryways. Increasing the amount of stairs, escalators and elevators will greatly improve how passengers move throughout the station, Lieber said.

“The Empire Station Complex is a transformative project that will support and deliver on the long-delayed Gateway vision for the entire East Coast and enhance the passenger experience in North America’s busiest transportation hub,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Officials will now consider two different alternatives for the station, a single-level design or a two-level construction.

Cuomo and officials at the MTA, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak and New York’s Congressional representatives plan to work on securing funding for the Gateway program and Penn Station’s reconstruction and expansion.

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