Logan CrawfordMay 13, 2017, 11:33 amMay 13, 2017, 11:34 am

Lawmakers oppose Cuomo and Christie call for private Penn Station manager

New Jersey officials suggested instead that Long Island Railroad, Amtrak and New Jersey transit work together

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Governors Cuomo and Christie pen joint letter blasting rail service 

In response to the joint letter from New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie calling for a private owner to take control of Penn Station, several lawmakers from New Jersey are saying no.

Assemblyman John McKeon of Essex County said, "It’s outrageous to think that the governors' solution to this is to bring in some kind of outside vendor, both governors, relative to dealing with the profound challenges that we face."

The governors say Amtrak has not done a good enough job running Penn Station when there are delays or derailments. But some officials say what's more important than a change in ownership of Penn Station is a change in the organization.

New jersey senator bob Gordon says Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Railroad are not communicating with each other well and suggests one entity runs Penn Station instead of three.

"Operate and manage this facility drawing on resources from the three organizations, sharing information,” said Senator Gordon.

Amtrak released a statement regarding Governors Cuomo and Christie’s letter, saying:
"We agree with the governors that dramatic action is required at Penn Station and 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.”

At a press conference Friday afternoon in Penn Station, Garden State lawmakers say the renewal project planned for Penn Station this summer is desperately needed to improve aging infrastructure.

They also say they hear riders complain about the look of Penn Station in the waiting and ticket areas. Stephanie Martinez of Nanuet, for example, thinks the station is "extremely hard to understand for people who don't necessarily travel on that line every day."

Plans to give Penn Station a makeover are in the works, but the summer improvements will cause some outages, with close to 25 percent of train traffic being affected.

Some daily commuters, like Max Lallier of South Setauket, are not looking forward to taking the train to work this summer. Lallier said his commute was “going to be a little bit of a problem for me, coming into Ronkonkoma every day and getting home everyday. So, I gotta learn to work around that."

Amtrak officials will be not releasing more information about schedule changes to the trains before next week. Senator Kaminsky will be holding a rally at the Rockville Centre train station Saturday morning, calling for Amtrak to let go of control of Penn Station.

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