September 27, 2016
Albany, NY

Video, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Unveils New Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex

Video, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Unveils New Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex

Governor Announces New Moynihan Train Hall Housing Both Amtrak and LIRR Ticketing and Waiting Areas, Plus 112,000 Square Feet of Retail and State-of-the-Art Security Measures – Renderings Here Governor Also Announces Reimagining of LIRR Concourse Featuring a Significantly Wider, Higher and Brighter Corridor; And a New Concourse Connecting Penn Station to Moynihan Train Hall and Spanning all LIRR Tracks Along 8th Avenue – Renderings Here MTA Will Fully Redesign Both LIRR-Connected Subway Stations – the A,C,E and 1,2,3 at 34th Street – More Information Available Here After 20 Years of Stalled Progress, Construction on Moynihan Train Hall Begins This Fall Under New, Fixed-Price Design-Build Contract Awarded Today; RFP for LIRR Concourse Redesign Also Issued Today Amtrak and Empire State Development Will Partner on Future RFP to Redevelop the Amtrak Portion of Penn Station

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled sweeping plans for the complete transformation of the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub. At the Association for a Better New York, the Governor announced the selection of a developer-builder team including three companies, Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and Skanska AB to redevelop the Farley Building, creating a new 255,000 square foot Train Hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak.​ More information is available here. The redesign plan announced today is also available in a PowerPoint presentation, available here.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the Governor’s remarks is available here.

PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks delivered at today’s event is available below:

Thank you. Thank you very much. Sit down, keep eating, please.

First, to Bill Rudin and the team at ABNY that do so much good work, continually. Let's give him a round of applause and thank him for everything he does. And he is bringing the next generation of Rudins along with Samantha Rudin Earls. It's a pleasure to be with you. Where are you Samantha? Alright, we'll give her a round of applause. Eric Rudin is here. And Bill mentioned them, but we had a tremendous team that worked on the project that you're about to hear about and I just want to, once again, thank Tom Prendergast, Howard Zemsky, Bill Mulrow, Pat Foye and a special shout out to Rick Cotton who has done an extraordinary job in transforming this project to a reality. Let's give them a round of applause.

We do have tragic news, the kind of news you're always afraid of. There was a fire in the Bronx this morning that turned into an explosion. Twenty injured and one firefighter has lost his life - a 17 year veteran, three children, a Battalion Chief, Michael Fahy. We remember them and it's another reminder of the sacrifice that our first responders make, that every day when they leave the house, is a day that that family doesn't know if they're every going to see them again. So, keep them in our prayers and thoughts.

Bill mentioned the debate last night. I was there, had a full view of it. Then went to the post-debate party. Those post-debate parties are wild by the way. You ever want a good party, there's nothing like a post-debate party. I'm curious, how many people saw the debate? Oh boy. How many people believe Hillary Clinton did best? How many people believe Donald Trump did best? You are all alone and it's not the first time. Either everyone is wrong and you are right, or my friend – that's ok. We will see and then you will say what was true.

We're very excited about this proposal. I'm going to speak quickly for two reasons. Number one, because I'm excited about the proposal. Number two, because I am a born and bred New Yorker and we speak very quickly, but there's a lot of information and a lot of good news in New York for this.

First and maybe even more important than the specific project, I want us all to remember today who we are and what made New York, New York in the first place. We come from a particular place and a particular type of person. 100 years ago, the people who built this place really had a determination to build it into a world capital. They were bold people. They were ambitious people building projects that nobody believed would even be possible. They were confident people. They were building when the market didn't exist. This is a picture of them building the 7 Train line down Queens Boulevard, when obviously, there was nothing around Queens Boulevard. What they were saying is, "We are so far ahead of the market, that we are going to drive the market and we're putting in a transportation system where people don't even live now."

That's how confident and that's how bold they were. There was nothing they couldn't do. Subway systems. No height they couldn't reach. No distance they couldn't span. Some believed it was outrageous – this is the Long Island Motor Parkway which was the precursor to the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State Parkway. They were building this parkway in the middle of nowhere on the belief that if they built it, you would see the growth. Some people call that attitude "New York arrogance," some people call it an "indomitable spirit," some called it “chutzpah.” Whatever you call it, it was right. It was that attitude and it was that boldness that made us who we were. And it worked and they were visionaries and we became the greatest state in the nation. And what they constructed has carried us for decades.

They knew that growth and development were driven by mobility and access. And what they knew, was if you build an unmatched transportation system, if you had the access for people, then everything would take care of itself from there. The private sector would go if you provided the platform for the private sector, and the private sector platform was the transportation system. And we made New York, New York, and it grew and it grew and it grew and now we are at the edge of that concentric circle. That’s how big the metropolitan area has gotten and it has gotten there because of the transportation system we built. New York did not just evolve, it was not a natural equation. New York was constructed and designed and built – that’s how we got to this place. That growth began 100 years ago. Now, since then other regions around the globe have caught on and you see them developing all across this country, all across this world, and in many ways, you see developments we haven’t even thought of here in New York.

So the choice is really clear – you either build and grow, or you stay where you are and you stagnate and you falter and you let the world pass you by, and for us to continue to grow we have to recapture that ambition that drive, that positive that made us the envy of the world. That’s why we propose on the state level a $100 billion plan to rebuild that transportation system over five years. Not to fix potholes, not to repair, not to refurbish, but literally to reimagine – to build a new. What made New York, New York was they were visioning something that didn’t exist. They were imagining a reality that they could create. And that’s what we have to get back to. That’s what the Vice President has been talking about for so many years. Seeing a future and making it happen. And that’s what we’re talking about today with the Penn-Farley Complex.

Pennsylvania Station and the Farley Complex across the street – Penn Station gets 650,000 passengers per day. That is double JKF, Newark and LaGuardia Airports. 650,000 people – more than all the airports combined. It is triple the capacity that the facility was designed for and it is not representative of New York. It is dirty, it is dingy, it is dark and that is not what New York is all about. It’s the equivalent of the LaGuardia Airport, which has now become the national laughing stock, right? Vice President started it, but now it’s almost a joke when they talk about how far behind we are, they talk about LaGuardia. Well, if you want to talk about LaGuardia, Penn Station is the train version of LaGuardia. It is decrepit and it’s affront to riders to use it. “Well, why are you so negative on Penn Station?” Because it’s terrible! That’s why I’m so negative on Penn Station, and sometimes you have to say what it is.

Now, 20 years ago they announced a plan. And the plan was that we were to acquire the Farley Post Office across the street from Pennsylvania Station and expand into the Farley Post Office Building and reduce the pressure on Penn Station. And that was the plan. Since then, little has happened.

There were two problems with the original plan: Conceptual flaws and also implementation flaws. The first conceptual flaw was this, the plan was that we would buy Farley, we would rebuild the Farley Post Office into a train hall and then Amtrak would move from Penn into Farley. And leave the Long Island Rail Road in Penn Station. Ok? That was the first premise. Second premise was, there was no plan to fix Penn Station, so what would you have accomplished? You would have taken Amtrak from Penn and -- by the way -- Amtrak owns Penn. You would put Amtrak in a new facility across the street, and you would leave the Long Island riders in the old Pennsylvania Station. Now, I love Amtrak, but that makes no sense. That makes no sense for anyone. Amtrak has about 30,000 riders. Long Island Rail Road has 230,000 riders. Why would we build a new facility, invest all that money, and then the LIRR stays exactly where it was in Penn and we have no capacity to fix Penn? That made absolutely no sense, but that was the deal from 20 years ago. Also, what they said, was that government was going to be the builder. You know the most important thing in life to know? It is to know what you don’t know. You know what government doesn’t know? Government does not know how to build. Fine. Then find a different way to accomplish it.

Today we are announcing four major developments. First, the Farley Building will be redeveloped into a world-class train hall, plus retail and office space. The use of the Farley Post Office Building Moynihan Train Hall has been reimagined from the original plan to have both the LIRR and the Amtrak in the new Farley Building. The Long Island Rail Road concourses at Penn Station will all be rebuilt and redone by the MTA. Empire State Development Corporation will work with Amtrak to redevelop the other portions of Penn Station, and we have picked, after an elaborate process, a developer-builder for the Farley Complex. The Farley Post Office will become the Moynihan Train Hall in the front, and it will include 700,000 square feet of office and retail. The original concept was to have just Amtrak housed there, now, we'll have Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road. There are tracks that are under Farley, so you will access the actual tracks and platforms through Farley, and they will be shared by the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak.

The new trail hall that we are building will be magnificent and will be world-class, and New York will not have seen anything like it in decades and decades. In size, it is massive. 250,000 square feet, ten stories high. 50 percent larger than the existing Penn Station. Larger than Grand Central. Grand Central is 233,000 square feet. This is 250,000 square feet. The train hall's trusses, the original trusses and the skylight, which is magnificent, built in the early 1900s, will be refurbished and remain. The glass arches are phenomenal. There will be a skylight, which is roughly one acre of glass, believe it or not. It will become a destination in and of itself, state-of-the-art amenities. There is going to be a 70,000 square foot balcony to attract world-class dining and shopping. This will all be high-end. This will be the best of the best. It will have every new accommodation used in any train hall or airport anywhere on the globe. LED display screens to show information and changes, and it will have world-class security, because as we all know too well, the new security challenges are different than anything we have faced before, and we will have the most sophisticated security system in this facility. Video-facial recognition technology, automated video identification of abandoned bags, chemical and biological contamination radiation sensors, and we will have a uniform, unified joint operation centers with federal, state, and local officials all housed right there at that facility.

In addition to building the train hall, we will also have retail and office space. 112,000 square feet of retail. 580,000 square feet of technical office space. This is on the west side of Farley so it's going to be connecting to what we call the New Far West with all that west side development.

Second, we’ll go back and we’ll start rebuilding Penn Station. We’re going to rebuild the Long Island Railroad concourses first. It’s a complete redesign of the underground labyrinth. I wanted to say that they reminded me of the catacombs in Penn Station. They said I couldn’t say that, so we said labyrinth instead. But, the entire concourse will be expanded. Right now it’s about 25 feet wide, so everybody is channeled in that cattle-call area. We’ll expand to over 70 feet wide. The ceiling height is somewhat limited, it’s not 16 feet, it will go to 18 feet. But the ceiling will be an LED screen which will appear as a blue sky with clouds. And this is state-of-the-art and it really gives you a sense of openness as opposed to being closed in. New digital information systems, the 7th Avenue ticketing hub will all be redone, we’re going to have glass walls so you can see everything, the transparency is good from a security point of view, plus it just makes it much more pleasant experience. And again, top flight retail and dining options all through it.

Second half of the concourse will be under the Farley building, it’s called the West Long Island concourse – same thing. All redone, open, LED blue sky ceiling and it gives you a sense of openness as opposed to claustrophobia and suffocation that you now get. Not that I want to be critical. Also there are two subway stations at both ends of the Long Island Railroad Concourse, they are the most heavily used subway stations in the system, they are also way overdue for rehabilitation, we will rebuild both of those subway stations at the same time. We estimate $170 million to rebuild the concourse, $50 million to rebuild both subway stations. The MTA will handle this Penn reconstruction with a separate design-build RFP for the concourse construction and it’s going to go out today.

Third, for the remaining portion of Penn Station that Amtrak now occupies, Empire State Development and Amtrak will work together to redevelop that space. We have a number of design concepts that came in from the RFEI process and they’re going to be pursued. We will also coordinate with plans for what’s called The Gateway Project. The Gateway Project are new tunnels from Penn to New Jersey, which will greatly expand the capacity from the west, and will bring in more trains, more platforms so we actually have more capacity within the station.

We have chosen a preferred builder-developer for the Moynihan Train Hall, this was after a very elaborate history, and first remember where we were for the past 20 years. We had signed a development contract in 2005, that is before me. I say we as the royal “We” – but sometimes I separate myself. I think maybe Howard Zemsky signed a contract in 2005 – no, he wasn’t there either – for the development of the site, but it was basically an open ended option. It had no deadlines and it was just for the development rights, it was still pending this year. We canceled that contract, we rebid for the development and construction of the facility on a whole design-bid-build basis.

We changed the whole paradigm of how we contract. This new contract is a construction management contract – it has deadlines, it has incentives for early delivery, it has penalties for late delivery, it keeps government out of the building business, we just have to watch the calendar and administer the contract. It also has a MWBE goal.

The Moynihan responses were reviewed by really extraordinary teams of professionals who gave a lot of time and energy to do it. They then went to the full evaluation committee, this is the full evaluation committee, and coincidently it also happens to be the runner up in GQ’s “Most Sexy Men Competition.” Yes, Howard submitted a picture of him when he was in high school, Tom Prendergast I think won this year because he had a great caption, “I am bald but I am bad to the bone,” he said. You can see that they have a certain charm and appeal so that is what they are and they also made these selections on the RFP while they were at it.

Three companies have won, it is Skanska, Related and Vornado. We congratulate them today and let’s give them a round of applause. The cost of the project is $1.2 million dollars to build, $300 million for the State to oversee the construction so it is a total of about $1.6 billion. Where does the money come from? $600 million comes from the developer who pays for the commercial and retail rights for Farley. $570 million from the Empire State Development Corporation and $400 million from a combination of Amtrak, LIRR, Port Authority and the federal government.

Today the bidder is selected queue for the work begins and January we want to sign the final contract. 2019 the Moynihan Train Hall will be enclosed, 2020 it will open. The development will create 5,000 construction jobs. They will all be union jobs, and we are proud of that and that will be the new Penn-Farley Complex. I also want you to remember the context that Penn-Farley exists within. We are not just doing Penn-Farley and we are not doing individual projects, we are implementing a strategic vision for the entire metropolitan area. So, if you look at Penn-Farley it is part of a $100 billion infrastructure plan which is the largest infrastructure plan this state has ever undertaken in history.

When you come from the east, we are rebuilding the two tracks on the Long Island railroad. Why? You have to be able to get people in from Long Island without getting in a car and driving on the Long Island Expressway and you have to make that Long Island Railroad doable for them. Right now, in some sections, there is literally one track on the LIRR. Anything happens, that is the delay that backs everything up and for twenty years they have been talking about doing a third and second track but it never happened because of community opposition, we are going to make it happen.

You have MacArthur Airport which is an underutilized asset on Long Island, you have Republic Airport that we are redoing which is also underutilized. We have a master plan coming for JFK that we are going to announce we are underway with the new airport at LaGuardia because I am tired of them teasing about New York as being the end of the pack. We are building an air train from LaGuardia which will come into Grand Central Station so it would be a train ride right to LaGuardia and from Long Island Railroad from Long Island you can go right to LaGuardia. East Side Access from the north, Upstate roads and bridges we are very aggressively building their roads and bridges and airports. Stewart Airport -- same thing, underutilized -- the Tappan Zee we are in the midst of construction, we are putting four new Metro North stations in the Bronx which will open up the Bronx to development like it has never been opened up before. If you look at assets in this city, real estate that is not yet fully developed you’d go to the Bronx, you add these four Metro stations you are going to explode those areas with possibility and development.

The Second Avenue Subway that we have talked about for forever, we are now focused like a laser on actually getting it done. The Javits Center, we want to double the size of The Javits Center, an additional one million square feet. We have an RFP out for that. The Gateway Tunnel coming in from New Jersey so we have more access coming to New York from the west and Penn-Farley as the hub for all of that. So that’s the full plan. We talk about it in pieces, but it’s very important that you understand the context for all of it.

My last point is this – I had a conversation with a great New Yorker this morning, and I talked about this project. The first response was a skepticism – “Well how do you know you can get it done? Nobody’s gotten it done before. How do you know you’re going to get it done?” First, this is not a plan. I don’t announce plans with caveats. This is what is going to happen. We did the bid, we have a winner, we have the money, we have all the approvals, the Legislature has acted, this is happening. The train is leaving the station, pardon the pun. But the cynicism was shocking to me, shouldn’t have been, but it was. “How do you know we can do it? How do you know we can get something done?” What is happening is, we have not done big projects in so long that we are doubting our capacity to do it. We have gotten so accustomed to plans that are announced that never materialize or government projects that are started but they just go on and on and on.

We believe that’s now the norm. That is not the norm. That is not the norm. That’s why you have to go back and remember who we are and what made New York, New York. New York is not about the timid and it’s not about the slow and it’s not about the weak, and it’s not about the incompetent. We have the exact opposite. We were the bold, the energetic, the outrageous. Everything was confident, of course we can do it. Build a building taller than ever before. No problem. We’re going to build a bridge longer than any bridge has ever gone before, no problem. We’re going to build 70 miles of pipe to get water down to New York City, sure. We’re going to build the Erie Canal – 500 miles with donkeys and men and women. Yeah, no problem, we’ll get it done in eight years. That’s who we were.

We’ve gone from there to this – “How do we know we can do it? I don’t know. I don’t know that we have the ability, I don’t know that we have the competence.” That’s what I love about the Tappan Zee Bridge. You don’t think we can do it, go look at the Tappan Zee Bridge – we are doing it. That’s who we are in our DNA, and yes we’re going to do this. Yes, we’re going to catch up to where we are. The Vice President is right, and they’re all right, when they say this nation has squandered an opportunity and allowed its infrastructure to deteriorate where we now have the rest of the world beyond us in terms of development and construction, transportation, etcetera. We have to get the energy back and the belief back and we have to make things happen.

I’m not announcing plans because they have no credibility. People have to see product, they have to see their Tappan Zee rise from the water. They have to see LaGuardia Airport come up new. They have to see Penn Station after 30 years of walking through hell, now they’re going to walk through a world-class station and go into Farley and say, “Wow, this is what New York should be.” Don’t tell me we can’t do it. We’ve done this and much, much more. That is the blood in our veins – that is the DNA in our cells. Lew Rudin did not live his life and leave Bill Rudin to be a caretaker of what they did 50 years ago. Bill Rudin was taught, you are the son and daughters of giants. You’re going to take what we left and you’re going to advance it. Mario Cuomo did not teach me, well, you’re going to be the Governor and you just keep everything running fine – no, advance the ball. The fundamental responsibility of all of us, as a parent, as a citizen, as a New Yorker: you were given this place, and during your time in place, you’re supposed to make it a better place. You’re supposed to improve it and together we will. Thank you, and God bless you.

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