New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is preparing to lay out "the largest construction program in the modern history of the state" as he announced his support of a Penn Station renovation project, a $22 billion investment in upstate roads and bridges, the addition of a third track to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, and a $1 billion plan to expand the city's main convention center, the Javits Center.
The governor has long linked his governorship to infrastructure projects, and a large portion of the plan he will detail in his annual keynote speech next week includes the redevelopment of the historic post office building next to Penn Station into a station concourse, Reuters reportd. Cuomo said the $3 billion Penn Station project will link airports, commuter rail networks and redeveloped roads with a larger region and will "make the state for the next 100 years."
Cuomo also said he will set aside $1 billion as part of a "toll protection program" and reduce tolls on the 570-mile New York Thruway, which connects the city to Albany and Pennsylvania. He plans to freeze tolls on the thruway until 2020, eliminate them altogether for agricultural traffic, and provide a 50% toll tax credit for frequent users.
This week, New York officials will issue a request for proposals from the private sector to design, build and finance the redevelopment of the post office. Their goal is to attract private investment in return for the retail rights at the facility, which sees 650,000 commuters and long-distance rail passengers each day.
The timing of the $22 billion upstate investment is not yet clear, but the governor said next year's budget, which he will announce during his address next week, would contain $7 billion of spending for upstate regions.
Another costly city mass transit project in the works is the new Long Island Rail Road terminal under construction at Grand Central Terminal. The commuter rail project will connect 160,000 LIRR passengers to Grand Central starting in 2022. The cost of the total project is now at $10.2 billion, more than double the original estimate, and it will end up costing $1 million per foot.