INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE

Building Congress Report Advocates Critical Transportation Projects to Transform Penn Station Area

The New York Building Congress released a new report, Moving Midtown West, at an April 1 Construction Industry Breakfast Forum, urging New York City, State and federal officials to develop a coordinated plan to design, finance and implement a series of interrelated transportation projects to transform Midtown Manhattan around Penn and Moynihan Stations.
 
According to the Building Congress, the four projects – completing Moynihan Station, building Amtrak’s Gateway tunnel, creating access for Metro-North Railroad into Penn Station, and reconfiguring Penn Station – are essential to reinvigorating the region’s most important entryway to New York City and alleviating the stress of an overtaxed rail system, while creating the first new rail link between Manhattan and New Jersey in more than 100 years.

Recent events make the need more compelling than ever.  The 2005 Hudson Yards rezoning is expected to produce up to 26 million square feet of new commercial space, tens of thousands of new housing units, and millions more square feet of new retail and hotels, adding new demands on the rail system.  Meanwhile, Superstorm Sandy demonstrated the weaknesses of the City’s aging transportation network, shutting down the system’s antiquated tunnels for days after the storm.  With just two single-track tunnels connecting the commuter rail network to points west of Manhattan, the entire system would grind to a halt if these tunnels were to suffer greater damage in the future.
 
The full report, available on the Building Congress website, concludes that only a committed, collaborative effort, led by Governor Andrew Cuomo and including New Jersey, and New York City, State and federal stakeholders, will ensure the extensive planning and management effort moves forward.

“Moving ahead on these four core projects will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and financial support at all levels of government,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson.  “Fortunately, Governor Cuomo, in particular, has demonstrated a commitment to major projects, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, that requires buy-in from and coordination between local, State and federal entities on a wide range of complex issues, including funding shares, ownership, and ongoing operating costs.  An even greater level of coordination will be needed here, which is why the Governor's leadership is so essential.”
 
The Building Congress recommends that an intergovernmental working group be convened in order to establish priorities, advance concrete work plans for each project, and ensure that each investment is coordinated and leveraged to ensure the greatest possible impact for the riding public.
 
The full report is available at http://www.buildingcongress.com/research/moving/01.html

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and tell them that adequate funding for Amtrak's Gateway project must be included in the next Amtrak reauthorization legislation.

Contact Governor Andrew Cuomo and urge him to commence Moynihan Station Phase 2 and to establish a working-group framework to advance all four projects.

Contact Mayor Bill de Blasio to commit the City to funding, land use and planning assistance for all four projects.

    The New York Building Congress is a membership coalition of business, labor, association and government organizations promoting the design, construction
and real estate industry in New York City.