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Penn Station tops Cuomo's transit resiliency plan

New York State wants the federal government to offset most of the $4.9 billion dollars the state said the transit system needs to prepare for new storms.

People wait to board a Long Island Rail Road train in Penn Station during the morning rush on Nov. 2, 2012 after Superstorm Sandy. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images People wait to board a Long Island Rail Road train in Penn Station during the morning rush on Nov. 2, 2012 after Superstorm Sandy.
Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York State wants to make sure that hundreds of thousands of people who use Penn Station every day aren't stranded by the next storm that might hit the city.

The state sent in its application to the federal government to see if it can offset most of the $4.9 billion dollars Cuomo said the state needs to prepare the region's transit infrastructure. Along with the Port Authority, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office released a list of 32 priorities, topped by the state's plans to bolster Penn Station's resiliency.

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The federal agency has already committed to $3 billion in grants for resiliency projects in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. The state would pick up the tab for the remaining $1.9 billion.

The plan for Penn Station alone would cost $516 million, with about $387 million eligible for federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration. Planned improvements include making sure that the state has alternate plans for Metro-North riders in case any failures along the lines between Manhattan and Connecticut.

"These projects build on the state’s commitment to transforming our infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply and coastal protections to better protect New Yorkers from future disaster," Cuomo said in a statement.

The state will have to wait for the federal agency to review the applications, but the Cuomo administration hopes that that the review process is expedited so as to fund the outlined projects as soon as possible.

Other priorities in Cuomo's plan include a "river-to-river" effort to protect the East River tunnels and Penn Station (total $321 million); protection of the Rockaway line ($182 million); protection of street-level openings ($401 million); and improvements to the World Trade Center station ($413 million).

The governor has already secured bipartisan support for the proposal in Congress, lining up votes of confidence from Democratic Congress members Charles Rangel and Carolyn Maloney, as well as Republicans Peter King and Michael Grimm.

Rebuilt in 1964, Penn Station is a hub for local subway services and interstate commuter rails and sees about 650,000 travelers a day.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

 
 
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