New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed $306 billion in infrastructure improvements as part of his 2021 agenda.
Among the rail transit projects Cuomo outlined on Jan. 14, day four of his State of the State Address: development of the Empire Station Complex, including reconstruction and expansion of Penn Station; construction of AirTrain LaGuardia; phase two of the Second Ave Subway extension; and continuation of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) third track project. His plan also covers highway, road and bridge work, and airport modernization projects.
Rail transit highlights:
• Under the governor’s $51 billion Midtown West redevelopment project in New York City is the $16 billion Empire Station Complex, which was first unveiled in January 2016. It includes reconstruction of the existing Penn Station (following completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, which opened Jan. 1, 2021) and acquisition of property south of the station to expand it and construct eight additional tracks, increasing train capacity by 40%. According to the governor’s proposal, the state “stands ready” to share in the investment with New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and the federal government. It also anticipates the inclusion of two new Hudson River tunnels and renovation of the existing two as part of the Gateway Project.
• As part of New York airport modernization, the governor expects to continue work on the $2 billion AirTrain LaGuardia, which will serve a planned three-station complex at Willets Point in Queens, “upon receipt of a positive record of decision from the federal government.”
• The governor’s plan also includes phase two of the Second Avenue Subway extension, linking the northern terminus at 96th Street station on the Upper East Side to 125th Street in East Harlem. (The nearly two-mile, $4.4 billion Phase 1 segment, adding new stations along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th and 72nd streets and a new connection to the Lexington Avenue Line at 63rd Street, opened in January 2017.) While the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is “committed to implementing its historic $51.5 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan,” there is still funding uncertainty caused by COVID-19, according to the state, and a need for multi-year federal support.
• Work will continue on the $2.6 billion Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Third Track project along a 9.8-mile section of the main line between Floral Park and Hicksville, which will increase capacity and improve reliability. Among the project components: parking garage construction, station renovations, new and renovated bridges, updated track and signal infrastructure, and grade crossing work. By the end of 2021, MTA will have completed all eight of the grade crossing eliminations on the main line, six of which will have new vehicular underpasses.