Penn Station redevelopment plan moving forward despite criticism

The plan to renovate and expand Penn Station took a big step Wednesday when a key state oversight board approved the financing proposal. 

The redevelopment is estimated to cost over $20B and is promising to transform not only the transit hub but the surrounding neighborhoods as well. 

The proposal has two parts, one to improve mass transit service inside Penn Station, which has near-universal support, and the other to give indefinite tax breaks for the developer behind about 10 buildings outside of Penn Station, which does not have universal support. 

The Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) voted for a non-binding agreement on how the state will reimburse New York City for possibly billions in lost tax revenue, while board members made clear key information was missing on how the massive real state development in the area around Penn Station would be funded. 

Will Governor Kathy Hochul's office is touting the vote as a victory, transportation experts told FOX 5 NY it wasn't the victory she, and the private developer who is also one of her campaign contributors wanted. 

Some members demanded to know how much the feds will contribute before discussing support for the non-transportation-related aspects of the Governor's plan.

Richard Ravitch, who was Lieutenant Governor and MTA Chair in the 70s and early 80s is among those calling on the state to focus on transportation improvements at Penn Station first. 

"It was premature to do this now. They should get the tunnel built. Or the toll started, or at least the memory of that. Because we need more access and we need more storage space for trains around Penn Station," Ravitch said. 

Other critics say the state is baiting the public with transit improvements at Penn to funnel taxpayer money into the hands of the private developer.