Gov. Cuomo doubts Amtrak can handle repairs at Penn Station

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RONKONKOMA -

While the MTA says the second day of the so-called Summer of Hell on the Long Island Rail Road went smoothly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo cast doubts Tuesday that Amtrak will finish repairs on Penn Station's aging infrastructure on time. 

The repair work at Penn Station has caused service disruptions for many Long Island Rail Road trains and has rerouted commuters going into the city. Some are using other transportation means – including buses and ferries.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told News 12 that he is concerned about the enormous cost to the MTA and how long the state can keep paying the tab.

"What I am concerned about more than anything is it is not sustainable for us over a long period of time," says the governor. 

He told News 12 that because of Amtrak's track record on repairs, he's not so sure it is the best operator for Penn Station. He also doesn't think Amtrak will get the job done by Labor Day weekend. 

"Call me a cynic, but I'm afraid it goes on longer. I don't think Amtrak is in the best position to do this," says Gov. Cuomo. 

In a statement, Amtrak told News 12 that "Our focus remains on the intensive, accelerated renewal of tracks and switches in A Interlocking which we expect will be complete by Labor Day." 

According to Amtrak's website, A Interlocking serves as the "critical sorting mechanism that routes trains entering and exiting the station from the Hudson River tunnels and the Long Island Rail Road's West Side Yard across 21 tracks."

MTA board member Mitch Pally says he is looking forward to weekly progress reports on the repairs from Amtrak. 

The MTA hopes to release a final cost of all the summer schedule changes sometime in September after Amtrak is finished with all of its track repairs at Penn Station.
 

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