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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New York Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are looking for Amtrak to cede control of the major train station hub Penn Station.  Penn Station in New York City contains Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit train lines and its trains.  It is the nation’s busiest train station but has been experiencing long travel delays and two train derailments in the last six weeks that have made commuting on those train lines a nightmare for travelers. The two Governors are asking Amtrak to allow them to pick whatever private management company they wish to control Penn Station since Amtrak has, in their words, allowed travel situations in Penn Station to fall from, “bad to worse to intolerable.”

A letter was sent from the two governors to Amtrak’s CEO Charles Moorman insisting he hand the reigns over to someone else as soon as possible.  The letter stated, “Every commuter in the New York/New Jersey area agrees with us that drastic action must be taken to immediately remedy the situation.  The time, energy, and suffering of our commuters in both states require nothing less.” Charles Moorman apparently agrees with the two governors as he has openly stated during a hearing into Penn Stations woes that he believes Amtrak shouldn’t be in control of its daily operations.  As he put it, “I’ve instructed my team to have Amtrak set up a new entity which will seek private sector partners to handle concourse operations, maintenance and deliver improvements.”

Meanwhile, travelers will apparently still have to endure hardships going through Penn Station while its fate is being decided.  Amtrak CEO Charles Moorman has stated that more track shutdowns and difficult commutes will be coming as repairs to tracks and Penn Station will be extending into next year.  He stated at a hearing before the New York State Assembly, “We might have another outage next year.  We just don’t know yet. Our plan is to get as much work as we can get done this year.”

A New York Assemblyman named Jeffrey Dinowitz wasn’t having it, however. He not only criticized Amtrak for planning repairs on regular workdays (when ridership on Amtrak is heaviest) he also wished to know why Amtrak is in charge of Penn Station to begin with.  He stated, “It seems like a strange way to do things – that the landlord is the smallest user.  Why do we need Amtrak if it’s the Long Island Railroad that uses the majority of the infrastructure in the first place?”

By: Anat Ghelber