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Public Hearing: Pennsylvania Station Area Civic and Land Use Improvement Project

(COMMITTEE ON FINANCE) Posted: June 23, 2022, Event Date: June 24, 2022

Friday, June 24th Hearing on Penn Station Redevelopment Plans

One issue that I have been following are state plans for redevelopment of Penn Station and the surrounding area. This will be an even greater focus for me now that a significant part of that area will be in my new Senate District under the new district lines that go into effect on January 1, 2023. This Friday at 10 a.m. I will be joining my colleagues Senator Comrie and Senator Sepulveda in hosting a joint committee hearing on the project. The hearing will take place at 250 Broadway, 19th Floor in the Assembly Hearing Room, and also be viewable online at https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/june-24-2022/joint-public-hearing-receive-update-penn-station.

As the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I have long been concerned about ensuring that there is transparency around the financing of this project, which relies in part on proceeds generated by a development plan for the area. This portion of the project funding will come from Tax Increment Financing (TIF), where the additional tax revenue generated by the new development will be dedicated to paying off bonds used to pay for the project. At this point, there are still many unanswered questions about that funding, including what liability the city and state may have for bond payments if the project fails to generate the expected tax revenue. In addition, with the growth of remote work, the assumptions about the need for additional office space that are assumed by the project plan need to be carefully considered. The New York City Independent Budget Office recently did a study of the project which raises these and other issues. That report is available at https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/on-track-or-off-the-rails-new-york-states-plan-to-use-new-development-to-fund-penn-station-improvements-leaves-many-open-questions-for-new-york-city-and-state-may-2022.pdf.

The hearing will also address issues around how the plans for Penn Station address transportation needs for New York City residents and commuters both by increasing capacity and improving Penn Station. We will hear from the MTA and transportation advocates who will share their thoughts and concerns about the plans. There are also many questions about the impact of the plans both for the station and the surrounding development on those living and working in the Penn Station area. The hearing will explore issues around displacement of existing residents and businesses as well as the need for improving public amenities and services in the area.

I view this hearing as about providing an opportunity to get answers to important questions and increase transparency around the project.