They've proposed doing this time and again...
The hits just keep on coming...
House Panel Proposes to Slash Amtrak Funding
By John Crawley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee proposed on Thursday to slash subsidies for the Amtrak passenger railroad next year but approved a 3 percent increase in highway spending, to $34.6 billion.
The appropriations subcommittee on transportation and treasury approved $900 million in funding for the nation's only city-to-city passenger railroad, the same amount recommended by the Bush administration for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Amtrak, which received just over $1.2 billion this year, has said the $900 million figure would force a shutdown.
Nevertheless, the decision was not unexpected. The House has consistently taken a harder line with Amtrak than the Senate, which has yet to act on its version of the funding bill.
Amtrak is seeking $1.8 billion in subsidies to help meet operating and capital costs.
The railroad is in the midst of a major overhaul on its flagship Northeast Corridor line, replacing track and damaged cars and making badly needed repairs to bridges and tunnels.
The $34.6 billion for highways is $1 billion above the amount requested by the Bush administration.
The bill that would fund the Transportation and Treasury departments at $90 billion would also provide:
- $14 billion for Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) programs and $7 billion for mass transit.
- $11 billion for Treasury Department (news - web sites) programs and $10.3 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (news - web sites).
IRS tax-collection enforcement would go up by $100 million over this year under the subcommittee plan. But that figure is nearly $300 million below what the Bush administration wants to help fund efforts to track down more than $300 billion in uncollected taxes.
The Republican-controlled panel also approved a proposal on a party-line vote that would effectively prohibit Mexican immigrants from using a popular identification card to open bank accounts and conduct other government business.
Proponents of the measure, introduced by Texas Republican Rep. John Culberson as an amendment to the funding bill, said restricting the Consular Identification Card was necessary to tighten security, especially in border states.
The full House Appropriations Committee will consider the funding measure on July 23.
They've proposed doing this time and again...
EARLY DELIVERY FOR POST OFFICE
July 20, 2004
The recent action by the Empire State Development Corp. to expedite the James A. Farley Post Office project is another sign that state Republicans want to demonstrate their accomplishments as the Republican National Convention comes to town. The deadline for submissions by private developers that want to oversee the project has been set for Aug. 27, only days before the convention. Insiders say that the project is expected to draw just a handful of bidders because it is so large and complex.
Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc
Bill rescinds money for Penn Station
The Associated Press
July 29, 2004, 4:42 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- A House committee has quietly stripped away $40 million intended to pay for moving Pennsylvania Station's train service into the historic James A. Farley post office building, allotting the money instead to the East Side Access project.
The federal funding, which has sat unused for several years while officials worked to build up a train station in the historic Farley building across Eighth Avenue, was originally obtained by the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Moynihan worked for years to create a huge rail hub inside a more architecturally impressive building than the basement under Madison Square Garden, where Penn Station is now located.
Just before leaving Washington last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved an annual budget that rescinds $40 million set aside by Moynihan in 2000 to pay for moving Amtrak and other rail lines into the Farley building.
The money instead would go to building a rail link connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, a plan usually referred to as East Side Access.
Moynihan's daughter, Maura Moynihan, said she was angry about the planned switch.
"As my father said, this project is a big fat white porpoise in a sea of sharks," she said.
Her father "spent over a decade fighting for this day in and day out, and to see it neglected and squandered means the people of New York are being cheated," she said.
The Moynihan Station project has also encountered resistance from Amtrak, the nation's financially precarious passenger rail service.
Amtrak owns its site at Penn Station, but would be expected to pay millions of dollars a year in rent at the Farley building.
The Empire State Development Corporation insisted Thursday the project is moving forward, having just initiated the bidding process for work at the Farley building, with or without Amtrak's support.
"The Moynihan project is going forward, and it has the support of the (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and New Jersey Transit," said ESDC spokeswoman Deborah Wetzel.
"We feel it's an important project to New York in terms of jobs and the economy of the region," she said.
It was not clear Thursday who in the House was responsible for redirecting the funds from Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal.
The bill still awaits a full House vote, and conference negotiations between the House and Senate, giving New York officials time to lobby on behalf of the Moynihan project.
A deal for the state to buy the post office and convert it into a transit hub was announced in October 2002. At the time, officials said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had committed $145 million to buy the building, and that the rest of the money needed for the project would come from state bonds, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and private sources.
Tony Bullock, a former chief of staff to the senator, said removing even relatively small amounts of money from the project is dangerous.
"Money for this project is a quilt, and if you take away one piece of it, then nothing can happen," Bullock said.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.
$2Billion for JFK link to lower Manhattan, but they can't spare a paltry by comparison $40Million for this project? I think it shows that Amtrak's future has zero political momentum.
the jets stadium might not be built, the republicans are coming and now we are having problems with the new station... Maybe there is a curse along 33rd st. :evil:
Penn Station picks up steam
Search is on for developer
Empire State Development Corp., headed by Charles Gargano,
is seeking plan for the portion of the Farley Post Office location
that doesn't include railroads or post office.
By LORE CROGHAN
Empire State Development Corp., headed by Charles Gargano, is seeking plan for the portion of the Farley Post Office location that doesn't include railroads or post office.
After 11 years of plans drawn and redrawn, the rebuilding of the James A. Farley Post Office as a stunning new Penn Station is about to get underway.
The state agency in charge of the project is picking a developer to work out a best use of the 60% of the 1.35 million-square-foot landmark that won't be occupied by railroads or the post office.
It could even become the new home of Madison Square Garden - if the Garden's owners join the bidding process in a timely way.
Though Cablevision and MSG chiefs Charles and James Dolan plan to renovate their existing facility, they've put out feelers about building a new arena at the Farley building, Empire State Development Corp. chairman Charles Gargano told the Daily News editorial board.
"I'm willing to look at anything they have, but I'm not going to delay our project," Gargano said.
Next month, Empire State will issue a request for proposals for its project to rebuild the two-block-long landmark at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street as a railway hub to partly replace Penn Station next door. As a first step, it's issued a call for interested developers to submit their qualifications.
The Dolans are unwilling to acknowledge an interest in the redevelopment project, which was championed by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
"As it has previously announced, Madison Square Garden has started the process of a major renovation to create a state-of-the-art facility - and will do it without taxpayer money," Dolan spokeswoman Mary Pat Clarke said.
Gargano said he's willing to work with the Dolans though they've disappointed him before. About three years ago - before the Jets hatched a West Side stadium plan - Gargano approached Madison Square Garden about building on top of an expanded Jacob Javits Convention Center.
"The fact of the matter is they were very, very interested - and then they pulled out," Gargano said.
At the Farley site, the Dolans face hot competition if they decide to go forward.
Developers that have been invited include Tishman Speyer - which owns Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building - and an unrelated firm, Tishman Urban Development. Vornado Realty Trust, Hines and LCOR have also been invited. So was Boston Properties, whose chairman, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, is also chairman and co-publisher of the Daily News. Staubach - chosen as developer of an earlier version of the project - also was invited.
Each will decide what mix of shops or other uses should occupy the 800,000 square feet available to them.
Though Amtrak committed to the project in 1999, the railroad has indicated that it will not participate, Gargano said. The project will go forward anyway.
"We have 90% of the funds to build this project in place," Gargano said. "If we don't build it, we lose $300 million in federal aid, and we don't have a new station."
The cost of the project is estimated at $1 billion.
Originally published on August 4, 2004
All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.
Blah, Blah, Blah - it's seems like the same newsarticle gets recycled every year. It will never happen. The best way to ease overcrowding is to diversify commuter line destination in Manhatan: Grand Central, Penn and Downtown.
September 2, 2004
At Penn Station, a Stalled Revival
By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
The proposed new Penn Station, looking up from a train platform to the arrival and departure areas.
A model of the roof of the grand entry hall at the proposed station.
As Republican notables gather in Madison Square Garden to celebrate the candidacy of President Bush, New Yorkers might point to a pressing concern across the street: how to jump-start the plan to create a stunning new Pennsylvania Station in the neo-Classical shell of the old James A. Farley post office building.
Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the project, with its soaring glass-enclosed great hall, was originally unveiled in 1999. It has been a pet project of politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for whom the proposed station is named, and Gov. George E. Pataki. Most of the $800 million needed to complete the project's construction has been in place since 2001. And the post office abandoned the space this summer, in part to make room for the news media covering the convention.
Essentially, all that is needed is the approval of Amtrak, a federal decision that would only require a nudge from President Bush.
Yet on Tuesday, when the head of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and Mr. Childs held a news briefing to draw attention to the project, it was essentially ignored by all the crucial players: Mr. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency that oversees development in New York.
Mr. Gargano has also been culling proposals for development of the 800,000-square-foot post office annex that faces Ninth Avenue and is not part of the existing plan. Whatever is decided, Mr. Gargano has said he will not delay construction of the station. But among the ideas being considered is a misguided plan to move the existing Madison Square Garden to the site, which could ultimately mean scrapping the current design and starting from scratch. Meanwhile, Congress recently threatened to reallocate $40 million of the $800 million to a project linking the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal on the east side.
Anxiety is building among some planners that the new Penn Station may never get built - a setback that would be a major blow to the city.
In practical terms, the project is far more important than Santiago Calatrava's $2 billion design for a new transit station at ground zero. Despite its symbolic importance, Mr. Calatrava's station would basically serve as an entry point to the PATH Trains and 14 subway lines. By comparison, Penn Station is already the busiest transportation hub in the country. With half a million passengers passing through each day, it is a psychological as well as literal gateway to the city.
Just as important, Skidmore's expansive design would be a big step toward rectifying one of the greatest architectural tragedies in the city's history: the 1964 demolition of McKim, Mead & White's glorious 1910 Pennsylvania Station, a monument to American democratic values, and its replacement by the dark, claustrophobic present-day station, one of the most dehumanizing public spaces in the city.
The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill proposal acknowledges this historical context without slipping into nostalgia. The Farley Building's main facade, with its grand staircase and row of Corinthian columns, would remain intact and would continue to serve as a post office.
The new station entrance would be on 31st and 33rd Streets midway between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It would replace the post office's loading docks, which currently join the original McKim, Mead and White post office and its banal 1935 addition. The most stunning feature is a soaring asymmetrical glass roof, whose curved form would funnel light down into a grand entry hall. The enormous glass shell that defines one side of the roof is supported by crisscrossing steel braces; the roof's other side is supported by a more delicate web of cables. Together, they create a wonderful visual tension, as if the entire station were about to be set in motion.
Approached from the east, the roof would be nearly invisible. Only its two ends would project out over 31st and 33rd Streets, marking the station's entry. Once people enter the structure, the roof's curved form would suggest an enveloping arm, gently steering passengers toward the tracks underneath Eighth Avenue.
From here, the project is conceived as a series of decks that cascade down to the platforms below. Passengers would move eastward from the great hall into the former mail sorting room, stepping down to a series of decks that support the main departure and arrival areas. From here, passengers could peer up at the train schedule board. Just below it, an enormous glass floor would open onto views of the passing trains. A series of escalators would pierce this glass surface to connect to the platforms.
Located in the post office's former courtyard, the entire space is enclosed by an enormous glass shed roof. The roof, which was painted over in the 1940's, will be reopened to allow natural light to funnel directly down into the tracks.
The sequence of levels is made possible by a stroke of dumb luck: since Penn Station's existing track platforms already extend underneath Eighth Avenue, the distance the architects needed to travel to connect the new station to the existing platforms was minimal.
Yet the effect is to create a nearly seamless sense of flow between the pedestrian life above and the trains flowing underneath. The cascading platforms create a remarkable architectural rhythm between shadow and light, past and present, the flow of pedestrians and the movement of the trains. It is as if the entire structure were propelling you toward the future.
It is the power of that vision of the modern democratic city, and its potential undoing, that has many in the architectural community wringing their hands. What better time to exploit the project's value as a public relations tool than now?
The present administration has always seemed to look suspiciously at city life. The supposed war between urban and suburban values has become as much a cliché of political life as the division between "blue'' and "red'' states. The resurrection of Penn Station, even in a new form, is something we should all be able to agree on.
Signing off on the project would be a concrete gesture of good will that could not be measured in political platitudes.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Signing off on this project is the only logical thing to do to at least attempt to restore Penn Station to the grande dame she once was. Politics aside: JUST DO IT!
Developers Express Interest in Moynihan Station Project
By Barbara Jarvie Globest.com
Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:05pm
NEW YORK CITY-Boston Properties, Jones Lang LaSalle working with Tishman Speyer Properties, LCOR, the Staubach Co., the Related Cos. and Vornado Realty Trust are vying for the right to develop Moynihan Station. The companies each responded to the Request for Qualifications issued by the Empire State Development Corp. by last Friday‘s deadline.
The project involves the expansion of the current James A. Farley Post Office building to link it to the current Penn Station. The $1-billion public/private effort involves 400,000 sf allocated for a new train station, 100,000 sf of retail space, 750,000 sf for private redevelopment and the possibility of up to a million sf of additional air-development rights. The US Postal Service revitalization will account for approximately 250,000 sf.
Calling the project “a gateway to the city,” ESDC chair Charles A. Gargano says the developers’ interest “confirms the need to create a new intermodal transportation facility. This project is the cornerstone for turning the area into a vibrant destination for people to work and shop.”
A Request for Proposals where the developers will detail a mix of uses for the landmark two-block site, will be issued next month. The station is expected to be open by 2008.
In March 2003, state and city officials said the new station would be named in honor of the late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The senator had long considered the revitalization of the transportation mecca to be a pet project. Funding that had been secured for the endeavor is now in jeopardy.
Designs on new Penn Station
BY LORE CROGHAN
DAILY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER
On your mark, get set - design!
The state agency in charge of turning the James A. Farley Post Office into a new Penn Station has lined up six contenders for the $1 billion job of project developer.
Their selection signals that after 11 years of false starts, the rebuilding of the 1.4 million-square-foot landmark on Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street is a go.
The bidders "represent the best developers in New York," said Empire State Development Corp. chairman Charles Gargano.
They include Tishman Speyer, owner of the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center, with partner Jones Lang LaSalle; and Vornado Realty Trust, the city's largest office landlord.
Also, there's Boston Properties, whose chairman Mortimer B. Zuckerman also is chairman and co-publisher of the Daily News; Staubach, a firm chosen as developer of an earlier version of the Farley project, and LCOR, which is doing development near the JFK AirTrain station.
Last month, the Daily News first identified these five as possible contenders for the Farley job - which involves coming up with a mix of shops and other uses for the 750,000 square feet of the building that won't be occupied by the train station or the post office. The sixth player is Time Warner Center's developer, the Related Cos.
Empire State expects to select a short list of finalists by year's end and pick a winner in early 2005.
Originally published on September 16, 2004
This is great news...Manhattan will have 3 great train stations in the near future.
All Not Aboard! Amtrak Pulling Brake on Penn
by Blair Golson
Senator Hilary Clinton had just spent several hours on Friday, Sept. 17, touring an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York about the life and times of her predecessor, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, when she and a small group of architects and urban planners took an impromptu walk upstairs to discuss, over coffee, the fate of the late Senator’s most frustratingly unfulfilled dream: the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office into a new Penn Station.
Mrs. Clinton "talked a lot about getting Amtrak involved, to make them see it was in their best interests," said Maura Moynihan, the late Senator’s daughter, who also attended the meeting.
Were Ms. Moynihan’s father alive today, that statement might seem absurd. After all, ever since the 1980’s, when the long-serving Senator first proposed the idea of creating a grand new rail hub across the street from the current Penn Station, the idea was always that Amtrak would become the building’s main tenant.
The building was intended as the grand anchor of northeastern regional rail service—the hub that would shuttle bankers, Congressmen, students and families in and out of the city and carry them through a major retail hub, much as Union Station does in Washington, D.C. It was ludicrous to imagine the project without Amtrak.
Now, however, the national railroad service is in dire financial straits, and the company’s cost-cutting new president, David Gunn, has said he won’t pay the costs associated with the move—neither in renovation expenses nor in annual lease payments for the space.
As a result, the estimated $1 billion renovation project is facing a potentially serious budget shortfall. State development officials have vowed to find the money elsewhere and to proceed undeterred. Assuming they do, the upshot of Amtrak’s intransigence is that if and when the Farley post office reopens as Moynihan Station some five years from now, Amtrak will not have a presence in the building. Instead, the station will most likely be home to New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. Amtrak’s passengers will have to continue funneling through Penn Station—moving through a space that The New York Times’ new architecture critic called "one of the most dehumanizing public spaces in the city."
So what began as Moynihan’s long-held dream of creating a grand new hub of intercity rail will instead become merely another regional commuter station. The building, which will be called Moynihan Station in honor of the late Senator’s tireless championing of the project, will be the Grand Central Terminal for New Jersey residents and Long Islanders.
"It’s certainly not what Moynihan envisioned," said Kevin Corbett, chief operating officer of the Empire State Development Corporation, whose subsidiary, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, is heading up the station’s development.
While there have been no final decisions made as to the tenant roster of the new station, The Observer has learned that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to approve at its next board meeting a $10 million grant to New Jersey Transit to study how to begin integrating its existing tracks and infrastructure with the planned Moynihan Station.
What this means is that New Jersey Transit is making concrete plans with the Moynihan Station Development Corporation to become a paying lessee at the new station. Presumably, the LIRR will soon follow suit. What’s significant about these developments is that they will effectively formalize Amtrak’s banishment to the current Penn Station. After all, the Moynihan State Development Corporation has no intention of leaving a large amount of prime space in the building just lying around on the off chance that Amtrak decides to change its mind at some point down the line.
"The station needs to get the maximum amount of revenue out of the space," said Mr. Corbett.
And Amtrak is unlikely to be able to come along later.
"When you structure the kind of deal you do with a prime tenant, you’re probably looking at 100 years with a 100-year option," said Mark Yachmetz, an associate administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration, which is helping to craft the project. "So if they’re occupying the space and Amtrak later changes its mind, then Amtrak is going to have to make its case to New Jersey Transit or the LIRR."
And as one official involved with the project put it, "The terms will probably be a lot less favorable for Amtrak in five years than they are now."
To be fair, Amtrak doesn’t necessarily have an obviously compelling need to expand into new territory. Of the roughly 500,000 people who traffic the current Penn Station every day, Amtrak passengers only account for about 28,000 of them.
The explosive growth in the rail industry that, more than anything else, is propelling this project belongs to New Jersey Transit and, to a lesser extent, the Long Island Rail Road. And given that Amtrak nearly went bankrupt last year, it’s perhaps easy to understand why Mr. Gunn feels that he can’t spare a penny to move Amtrak into more luxurious accommodations—especially since Amtrak already owns its own space at Penn Station.
"We feel it’s not in our best interests to move into a station that would increase costs while we are trying to save every dollar we can, and while we struggle to repair years of deferred maintenance on our existing physical plant," said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black.
Then again, Mr. Gargano thinks that Mr. Gunn, in his quest to pinch pennies, is being extremely shortsighted.
Mr. Gargano said that Amtrak backed out of a 1999 agreement it made with the state to pay its share of costs for the new station.
"It’s shameful that Amtrak didn’t meet their commitments," he said. "And Amtrak will be the losers, because their riders won’t benefit by being able to use the new station."
Privately, some people involved with the project have expressed misgivings about Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Schumer for not leaning harder on Mr. Gunn to commit some of his agency’s budget to the program.
"People expect New York’s Senators to go to bat for New York in a good old parochial sense," said a project backer, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating either Senator. "Clearly, neither Senator has done that yet."
Bob Yaro, the president of the Regional Plan Association and a longtime backer of the project, disputed the allegation.
"They’ve done everything they can," he said, referring to the two Senators. "They’ve met with [Amtrak’s president] in private on several occasions, but David Gunn—who’s a highly regarded, principled guy—has made it clear that he doesn’t have the resources to put into this."
Neither senator returned calls by press time.
Amtrak’s decision to stay put has also created a shortfall in Mr. Gargano’s renovations budget for Penn Station. That issue was the first topic of conversation at Mrs. Clinton’s informal coffee session at the Museum of the City of New York last week. Sitting at the conference table with Mrs. Clinton that afternoon was a group which included Mr. Yaro, Ms. Moynihan, Robert Tierney, the chairman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and two architects from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm that designed the conversion of the neo-classical Farley building, which runs between Eighth and Ninth avenues from 31st to 33rd streets.
Mrs. Clinton, wearing a black pants suit, "opened up the discussion by saying, ‘After the Madrid bombings, my real concern is whether or not Penn Station is safe,’" Ms. Moynihan recalled. Mrs. Clinton then answered her own question: "No, it’s not."
Mrs. Clinton was referring to the widely held belief that the ventilation systems at the current Penn Station are aging and ineffective and that, in the case of an explosion or fire on the tracks, thousands could suffocate before the pumps cleared the air.
The ventilation-system upgrade is only one small part of the $1 billion project, but perhaps no aspect of the job demands more immediate attention than this safety upgrade. It seems ironic, then, that this is the only part of the project that has yet to secure funding.
The reason is that state officials want Amtrak, which owns the tracks, to pick up $50 million of the $60 million upgrade tab. But Amtrak, which feels that the costs have nothing to do with Penn Station and everything to do with Moynihan Station, has refused to pay.
"That falls under the category of capital investments into the new [Moynihan] building, and Amtrak maintains that we can’t participate in capital costs for that project," said Mr. Black, the Amtrak spokesman.
Mr. Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, said that he’s met with Washington lawmakers many times over the past several months to seek alternate sources of funding for the missing $50 million.
"We’re appealing to our New York delegation in Congress, and the transportation committee and subcommittee, to help us front the ventilation costs," he said. "Obviously they’re out of session now, but we’ll resume as soon as they get back."
Mr. Gargano is confident enough about his abilities to wangle the cash, however, that his agency is moving forward with vetting potential developers for the larger Moynihan Station project. He said that he hopes to award a contract by early January or February.
While most of the Farley building’s neo-classical, Roman-style exterior will be unchanged in the redesign, the most striking new element is a soaring glass parabolic arch that will bisect the mammoth structure on an east-west axis and pour sunlight onto the building’s two main entrances, on 31st and 33rd streets between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. (The building’s traditional main entrance, the imposing stone stairway running the length of Eighth Avenue, will remain for post-office use.)
The saga of the new station’s development has been a long and torturous one, filled with false starts, dashed hopes and shifting allegiances. The original neo-classical Pennsylvania Station, designed in 1910 by McKim, Meade and White, was torn down in 1964 to make way for the current Madison Square Garden, an act that Moynihan later called the "greatest act of vandalism in the history of the city." The razing of the building so shocked New Yorkers that, soon afterwards, they established what would become the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Right across Eighth Avenue from Madison Square Garden stands the Farley building, another neo-classical structure that McKim, Meade and White completed in 1914. Ever since the late 1980’s, according to his daughter, Moynihan dreamed of converting the post office to rail use. It wasn’t until 1993, however, that Amtrak first unveiled a design for the project. For the next decade, a group of true believers led by Moynihan mounted an uphill battle to secure the political will and economic allocations needed to make the project a reality.
In 1999, the late Senator proudly exclaimed: "It’s done. Excelsior!"
Of course, it wasn’t done in 1999. The U.S. Postal Service had agreed to move out of about half of the building, but in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, with one of its downtown facilities badly damaged, the service decided that it might need the Farley space after all. However, by 2002 development officials got the Postal Service to agree to sell the building almost in its entirety to the state, and one of the last remaining major obstacles was finally gone.
But still the project dragged on, and this summer a House committee, sensing terminal inertia, moved to strip the project of $40 million in funding and reallocate the money elsewhere. To this day, it isn’t known who exactly was responsible for that decision, but the action prompted Mr. Gargano, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Yaro of the R.P.A., Peg Breen of the private Landmarks Conservancy, along with a host of other project backers, to stage a series of meetings with Washington lawmakers to make sure the money gets put back. Mr. Gargano said he’s satisfied that the lobbying effort was successful, and that the money will find its way back to the project when that particular budget item comes up for a formal vote.
Less certain, however, is the source of the money for the ventilation-systems upgrade that Mr. Gargano still needs to gin up. "We need $50 million for the ventilation," he said, "but keep in mind that we have 90 percent of the money for this project."
Perhaps—but this wouldn’t be the first time that the Moynihan Station project got to the one-yard line, only to find itself pushed back to the 50.