New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a plan to address the crisis at Penn Station and the ripple effect it will have on the entire transit system. The Governor is also establishing a Task Force composed of leading transportation experts and stakeholders to develop both short-term transit solutions and long-term systemic changes.
The plan will focus on:
- developing an immediate plan for the Penn Station summer crisis;
- recommending viable long-term management solution for Penn Station and turning it into a 21st Century transit hub with Farley Train Hall and the Gateway Tunnel; and
- challenging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to modernize the New York City subway system and increase the number of trains at peak periods to relieve crowding and reduce delays.
Governor Cuomo stated, "The intolerable state of disrepair in Penn Station and its ripple effect of delays and dysfunction throughout the subway system have reached a breaking point, and we must enact this comprehensive action plan now to find both short and long term solutions to these growing challenges, upgrade outdated infrastructure and meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
"This multi-pronged effort will address the chronic failures of the system and make critical, long overdue upgrades to ensure our system is of the highest caliber,” added the Governor. “After decades of neglect, it's time to seize the opportunity to make real changes to our transportation system."
The task force will focus on the following objectives:
- First, developing alternative transportation solutions to deal with the summer’s Amtrak service cuts, including Park and Ride operations; amended restrictions for the LIE HOV lanes; high-speed Long Island ferries; and privately owned express bus service.
- Second, recommending a viable long-term management solution for Penn Station and turn it into a 21st century transit hub with Farley Train Hall and the Gateway Tunnel.
The Task Force is also asked to assess the viability of any proposed long-term management solution for Penn Station. The Governor is proposing the Task Force consider New York State will take over Penn Station, the Port Authority will take over Penn Station, and Amtrak uses a private contractor.
The Governor also announced “The MTA Genius Transit Challenge,” a competition to reimagine the solutions to the systemic challenges with the system. In June, an international competition will convene participants to address the subway’s three most vexing technology and design challenges. The challenges will include improving New York City subway signal system; bringing better subway cars to the system; and increasing communications connectivity in subway tunnels.
The state will provide a $1 million “Genius” award for the best ideas in three categories and the MTA will likely contract for those systems.