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Dear PlanNYC Users:

Thank you for visiting PlanNYC.

As of July 7, 2010, we have suspended daily news updating on this website, and will not be adding new developments or policy and legislative debates.

PlanNYC, a student-run website based at NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, has proudly served New Yorkers for five years. During that time, the growth of online information on land use and development issues, along with advances in technology such as RSS feeds and news alerts, have created many opportunities for New Yorkers to stay informed about housing and land use debates in the City. As a result, the daily news updating on this site has become less unique and less critical to our users.

We are pleased to keep the existing PlanNYC content online as a resource; all content on the site is current of July 6, 2010, but will not be updated after that date.

We hope you continue to use the data and research available at the Furman Center (which you can find at www.furmancenter.org), and we welcome your ideas and suggestions for how we can continue to provide objective information and analysis about land use and housing policy debates in New York City.

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East Side Access/ LIRR Extension to Grand Central

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) East Side Access (ESA) project will connect the Long Island Railroad’s (LIRR) Main and Port Washington lines in Queens to a new LIRR terminal beneath Grand Central Station on the east side of Manhattan. The MTA's website’s states that project goals consist of the creation of a direct and fast link between Long Island, Queens and East Midtown Manhattan, and to alleviate overcrowding at Penn Station. Additional project goals include increased East River commuter rail tunnel capacity, as well as improved traffic patterns, quality of life, economic development and air quality in the New York metropolitan area.

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in early 2006 and be complete in 2013, but has been delayed repeatedly. In December 2006, voters approved the Bond Act which provided $450 million for ESA, and Congress earmarked $2.6 billion in federal funds. In 2007, the MTA received another $215 in federal funds for the project, and in 2008 the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) provided a $210 million grant for the project, but more funding is still needed. The MTA’s own budget troubles have also delayed the project.

The first phase of construction began in September 2007. Two tunnel boring machines (TBM’s) will make eight tunnel drives in Manhattan, two of which are already complete. Tunnel boring began 120 feet below street-level from 63rd Street and reached Grand Central Station in July 2008. The second phase of construction began in January 2009 at 37th Street and Park Avenue, and includes utility relocation and air shaft construction. Boring of all Manhattan tunnels will be finished by 2010. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2015 at a total cost of $7.2 billion.

Last Updated: October 5, 2009