Elected officials and transportation specialists took part Monday in a groundbreaking for the project to turn the Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Station railroad hub in Manhattan.
Speaking on Eighth Avenue beneath the massive pillars of the main post office, speakers extolled those who fought for the project and the federal government for heavily financing it.
The project is named for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the ambassador and professor who conceived the idea of the conversion.
“This station will be part of a future of high-speed rail service in our country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “High-speed rail is coming throughout our country.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was praised by other numerous speakers for his untiring role in promoting the conversion project.
The officials then were handed sledgehammers, which they swung to demolish a wall of bricks built for the symbolic groundbreaking.
The ceremony came within a few days of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the original Pennsylvania Station, which was demolished in 1963.
The conversion of the post office into Moynihan Station is expected to cost nearly $2 billion, with the first phase of construction finished in 2016.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
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