LIRR Comes to Grand Central. Finally.
The benefits will also go the other way, said Tom Wright, the president and chief executive of the Regional Plan Association, a research and urban-policy advocacy group. Long Island has trailed the rest of the region in economic and population growth “for the last generation,” he said, adding that the Grand Central connection would make reverse commuting to Long Island more convenient than it has been.
Officials had hoped to have trains coming and going at Grand Central Madison, as the new Long Island station is being called, by the end of 2022. There were delays because of “one stupid fan that couldn’t satisfy the air performance requirements because of the weird downdraft from good old Grand Central Station, circa 1912,” Lieber said.
He said the huge station-within-a-station that is the new connection point was the largest rail terminal built in the United States since the mid-1950s. Its runs underground for five blocks, parallel to the street grid above, from East 43rd Street to East 48th Street. The ticket office is at 47th Street.
It is the end point of a project that proved stunningly expensive: A New York Times investigation in 2017 found that the estimated cost of the East Side Access project had jumped to $12 billion, or nearly $3.5 billion for each new mile of track — seven times. the average elsewhere in the world.
Federal money for the project was engineered in the late 1990s by former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, a Republican from Long Island, who said he worked with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat. “Forget that I was a Republican and he was a Democrat,” D’Amato said. “When it came to this state, we worked together. Today, forget it.
The tracks connect to tunnels under the East River that were started in the 1960s. They were left unfinished in the municipal fiscal crisis of the 1970s, but linking the Long Island Rail Road to the East Side remained a dream of transportation planners, one of those impossible projects like the Second Avenue subway.
But with support from D’Amato and former Gov. George Pataki, the plan was “no longer a transportation planner’s pipe dream but a near-term priority on Capitol Hill,” The New York Times said in 1997.