Politics

Cuomo Asks Trump For Federal Help With Penn Station

| by Michael Doherty

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked President Donald Trump for help with New York City's "intolerable" Penn Station.

"The negative impact of the state of disrepair at Penn Station has reached a tipping point," wrote Cuomo in a letter addressed to Trump, seeking federal assistance for the beleaguered train station, which has seen a number of derailments and delays recently, according to WPIX.

"As you know, the station is in deplorable condition and has been for years," Cuomo wrote to the president. "However, the recent track breakdowns and mechanical problems have made the situation intolerable."

"While this is not a hurricane or flood it will affect as many people and businesses with dire consequences," wrote the governor. "Like a natural disaster, we didn't create it but our public offices require we address it. As in most emergencies, this is not a political issue and bipartisan officials will agree that we need immediate help."

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The governor requested federal funding to pay for alternative transportation, construction and a search for a permanent solution to the station's problems. According to Cuomo, he is open to "any and all short-term options," as well as "creative solutions."

In April, five people were injured when a New Jersey Transit train derailed. The derailment also led to delays at the station, causing difficulties for commuters, according to the New York Post.

The Long Island Rail Road canceled 26 rush hour trains after the accident.

"When it happened, there was like a huge jerk in the train and kind of like a loud noise," said passenger Ryan Davison. "I immediately knew it was derailed. You could see out the door that the trains were skewed."

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Davison said that just a few seconds earlier, a friend had walked between the train cars to talk to him.

"He was a little taken aback by that," said Davison. "He was like, 'I would have been crushed.'"

According to Davison, the way the station dealt with the derailment was "just kind of a mess." He said conductors sent passengers to the last four cars of the train before sending them back toward the front, and then the fire department helped passengers get off the train after 30 minutes.

The accident happened just 10 days after another derailment at Penn Station, but according to Amtrak the two incidents were not related.

"At this time, this incident does not appear to be related to the March 24, 2017 derailment at a separate location," said Amtrak.

In May, Amtrak put out a statement addressing concerns about Penn Station.

"We agree with the Governors that dramatic action is required at Penn Station," said the railway service. "That's why Amtrak is advancing our renewal plan as well as the creation of a new entity to unify management of the station concourses and leverage the expertise of the private sector with experience in running complex passenger facilities."

Sources: WPIX (2), New York Post / Photo credit: Erwin Bernal/Flickr

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