The congestion at New York Penn Station has become a major political issue in recent years.

USA: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used an address at the Association for a Better New York on January 6 to announce plans for a locally funded expansion of Penn Station in New York City.

Cuomo said that the state would acquire a block of land immediately south of the existing midtown hub. This would allow the construction of eight more west-facing bay platforms primarily to be used by NJ Transit commuter trains and Amtrak long-distance services.

Cuomo said the extra platforms and related concourses would increase the passenger throughput of the station by up to 40%. The extension would be integrated with work now being taken forward under the Empire Complex programme that will see an additional concourse for Amtrak passengers open later this year in the former Farley Post Office building opposite Penn Station.

Cuomo confirmed that no federal funding would be used, with the state and local property developers underwriting the cost of the extra platforms. Detailed designs, costs and timescales are still to be determined, but Cuomo said that he would continue to ‘fight’ for the long-planned Gateway Programme to build a second set of trans-Hudson tunnels between New York and New Jersey.

‘No little fix works. We analysed it and the best alternative is to acquire the block south of Penn Station and add eight tracks’, Cuomo said. ‘Penn can’t even handle our planned growth. This would address that.’