Groups Ask “Transparency” Gov. Hochul To Release Basic Information About New Penn Station Project


Reinvent Albany, BetaNYC, Common Cause/NY and NYPIRG sent a letter to Governor Hochul last week asking for her to release basic information about the state’s new Penn Station Complex project, including:

  • Any reports and analyses produced by consultant Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC (“Ernst & Young”), per the contract approved by the Empire Statement Development Corporation (ESD) Board of Directors at its March 26, 2020 meeting.
  • Agendas, materials and any other documents provided to members of Empire Station Complex project’s Community Advisory Committee and its Working Group (“CAC” and “CAC WG”). While the CAC and CAC WG are advisory and have not met publicly, public documents related to the groups are still subject to New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Reinvent Albany sent a FOIL request for these documents on June 1, 2021.
  • Additionally, all diagrams and data related to the project should be published in machine readable data format on the state’s open data portal.

The groups noted that these documents will be important for the public to review as they consider revisions ESD has made the the project in advance of a December 8, 2021 hearing on the project’s amended General Project Plan (GPP). Governor Hochul previously announced a “reimagined” Penn Station plan at a press conference on November 3, 2021.

Additionally, a separate letter was sent by BetaNYC, Common Cause/NY, Reinvent Albany, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, as well as Senator Brad Hoylman, Councilmember Ben Kallos and Community Boards Four and Five asked the NYC Independent Budget Office to analyze the Empire Station Complex project’s financing framework, including the use of Payments In Lieu of Taxes (“PILOTs”) and other similar mechanisms. IBO’s assessment of ESD’s proposal will be more accurate and useful to the public and elected officials if it includes the Ernst & Young financial analyses.

ESD has since provided records in response to Reinvent Albany’s FOIL request for materials from the Community Advisory Committee, which are provided below. The documents below are inclusive of CAC meetings through June 1, 2021, but do not include materials for meetings held after that date.

CAC Membership List
CAC Meeting Schedule

CAC Meeting Materials
Meeting 1 – Introductory Meeting – April 27, 2021

Meeting 2 – Regional Transit Context – May 4, 2021

Meeting 3 – Gateway – May 11, 2021

Meeting 4 – Penn Station Improvements and Expansion – May 18, 2021

Meeting 5 – Funding and Financing – May 25, 2021

Meeting 6 – MSG & Open Discussion – June 1, 2021

Reinvent Albany continues to call on Governor Hochul and ESD to publish all Penn Station/Empire Station Complex CAC materials, as well as reports and analyses from Ernst & Young, with all relevant data provided on the state’s open data portal.