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NY Gov. Cuomo announces details of $5.6b rail initiative

by Jody Barhanovich

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a historic $5.6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road to strengthen the region’s transportation infrastructure and usher in a new era of economic growth.

After 70 years of stagnation, all 100 transformative LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and grade crossing eliminations, modernizing transportation across the region to provide a state-of-the-art system for Long Island.

The $5.6 billion transformation is part of New York’s $100 billion infrastructure program, the largest in the nation. A central component of this plan is building a new Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey and rehabilitating the existing tubes. The Gateway project will connect travelers from across the Northeast corridor and bring riders into the heart of the system.

This critical project is complemented by the development of the new Penn-Farley Complex, featuring the new Moynihan Train Hall, a $1.6 billion, 255,000-square-foot facility that is expected to open in 2020. The Penn-Farley Complex also includes the newly opened West End Concourse, which enables LIRR commuters to board trains without entering Penn. Additionally, the transformative East Side Access project will create the first direct LIRR service to the east side and increase capacity to and from Manhattan.

“With the complete transformation of the Long Island Railroad, New York is recapturing the bold ambition that made our infrastructure the envy of the nation and building for the future. The LIRR is the backbone of the region’s economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network,” Gov. Cuomo said. “From the previously unthinkable Third Track and Second Track projects to state-of-the-art technology and signal upgrades, we are daring to imagine better and delivering for the people of New York once again.”

Some of the Long Island Rail Road–specific components include the $2 billion Main Line Third Track, a $387.2 million, 12.6 mile, double-track project; a $128 million Mid-Suffolk Storage Yard; and a $375 million Jamaica Station signals, track and infrastructure project.

The LIRR project is just one piece of a $100 billion state infrastructure initiative that Cuomo announced in January 2016. At the time, officials said the projects included in the massive program would generate more than 250,000 jobs.

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