A Governor Cuomo-developed proposal to establish state control over the area around Penn Station has been swiftly denounced by city officials. Politico first got its hands on a draft of this proposal which seeks to give the state a large amount of control in developing the area around Penn Station. Though the proposal was only preliminary in nature, it would have allowed the state to “condemn, acquire or transfer property,” in the surrounding area without any environmental review, according to Politico.
Following the revelation, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told Politico the proposal was “totally crazy,” and many other city officials have joined her in their denunciation of plan including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The proposal came out just as legislators are making last minute negotiations over the state budget this year, according to the New York Times.
The Cuomo Administration argues that Penn Station is chaotic and poses a threat to public safety in its current state, and that this proposal may help overcome the existing crisis in a timely manner. Work is already underway on the Moynihan Train Hall across the street (the conversion of the James A. Farley Post Office building), which will partly help with the current problem.
“Our proposal is in accordance with all existing laws governing such projects in terms of planning, consultation with community leaders and elected officials, environmental reviews and local government reviews,” said Dani Lever, press secretary to Governor Cuomo.
But city officials expressed concerns that such a takeover could also lead to the construction of massive towers in the surrounding area without any city review, and that the money generated from this development would not necessarily go toward the improvement of Penn Station.