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House committee diverts $40M from Penn Station move

The House Appropriations Committee took the action without fanfare shortly before its recess last week. But it was not immediately known which members of Congress managed to divert the funding from its original purpose.The East Side Access project would bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal.In any case, the legislation must still go through a full vote of the House to be followed by negotiations involving House and Senate conferees."The project is going forward," said Chapin Fay, a spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Farley move. "This activity in Washington is at this stage decisive and there is much more in store legislatively for this appropriation measure."The legislation for funding the new Penn Station was obtained through the campaigning of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, when he represented New York in the U.S. Senate.Supporters of the project, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion, have said commuters might be arriving in the new Penn Station by the end of the decade.Moynihan, along with many other New Yorkers saw the Farley Post Office, which like the original Penn Station, was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, as a more appropriate site than the basement of Madison Square Garden, where it is now.Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called the present Penn Station "a dreary, subterranean failure," serves more than 600,000 people daily and long ago had run out of space. The new station's design provides for 30 percent more travelers daily.Moynihan was one of many who denounced the destruction of the original Penn Station in 1963. Razing of the station led to establishment of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.Moynhan called it "the great act of vandalism in the history of the city."

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