Report: Andrew Cuomo to announce $300m train station for Islanders, “most” paid for with public money

Normally I wouldn’t bother posting on the 4th of July because there are going to be like two of you reading this and you’re both in Canada, but but but:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to be on Long Island Monday to announce plans to build a new train station to serve the proposed new arena at Belmont Park, sources told LIBN…

It is unclear whether New York Arena Partners, the developers of the $1.18 billion arena, hotel and retail project, will contribute to the cost of the new station, however most of the cost, which could approach $300 million, will be paid for with public funds.

The possibility of a new train station, of course, is nothing new: Back in February, local elected officials made clear that they had no intention of approving an Islanders arena unless it came with a full-time train station, which — thanks in part to some problematic geometry with how the existing Long Island Railroad tracks are laid out — transit officials had estimated could cost as much as $300 million. Yesterday’s Long Island Business News report, though, is the first to indicate not only that Cuomo is set to go ahead with this cockamamie plan, but that “most” of the price tag will be footed by New York state taxpayers.

LIBN also included a map showing how far from the new arena the new train station would have to be:

That little trapezoid is the train station. The giant oval is Belmont Park racetrack. The area below the giant oval, mostly cut off at the bottom of the image, is where the arena would be built.

That’s a distance of about half a mile, which will require hockey fans to board shuttle buses that will inch their way around the west end of the racetrack on that single service road to drop fans at the arena. (What looks like an existing train station at the southwest corner of the racetrack, by the way, is indeed an existing train station, but one that can only be used for service to and from the west thanks to that troublesome geometry mentioned earlier.) So New York state could be looking at spending nearly $300 million just so people going to Islanders games and concerts can take shuttle buses a slightly shorter distance than if you ran it from the existing stations to the east and west.

We’ll find out more on Monday, presumably — I’ve reached out to the state agencies responsible, but July 4th, remember? — and it’s always possible that LIBN’s report (based entirely on “sources”) got something wrong. But right now it looks like Cuomo could be set to ease local opposition to a privately funded (except for $74 million to $300 million in land discounts) arena project by throwing as much as $300 million at a train station a bus ride away from the arena, which, you know what, let’s just wait till Monday before issuing any epithets.

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12 comments on “Report: Andrew Cuomo to announce $300m train station for Islanders, “most” paid for with public money

  1. I am not in Canada, but a big Islanders fan who understands how difficult it is getting anything constructed in Nassau County and also does not want them possibly ending up in Houston or Quebec City, so I understand that the train station is needed in order to “Grease The Wheels” to get this finished. Which is why I am all for this.

    1. Even if this arena doesn’t get built, you’re pretty safe in assuming the Islanders won’t be moving.

  2. I am in where they met with the treat of death for talking bad about the government. Philadelphia

  3. I’m in the UK and reading this. Couldn’t they have a covered moving walkway instead of shuttle buses? (Only joking)
    Happy 4th July to all your American readers.

  4. It appears that aside from the fact that Cuomo will be announcing this on Monday, LIBN got most of the facts wrong. From Newsday later in the evening:

    “The full-service rail station will cost about $100 million with arena developers funding a majority of the construction, according to sources with knowledge of the project.”

  5. I would be curious to know if they looked at improving the existing station 0.4 miles away (Bellerose)? Should cost less than a new station at the cost of a longer shuttle ride to the arena.
    As an Islander fan from 1972 and a resident of Bellerose who lives 2 miles away from the new arena, I would love a path thru the north side of Belmont Park where I can walk to and from a game (and save $40.00 on parking). Please include a path from the new station to Bellerose station.

    1. Yeah, Bellerose looks to be about 1500 feet from where the new station would go. I get that locals might not want shuttle buses driving through their local streets, but for what you’d spend on a new train station, you could afford to buy them some really nice sound barriers.

  6. From the new station the shuttles buses can run entirely on Belmont property, and if they run a shuttle from the existing Bellerose station they just need to go four blocks, then past a school along the train tracks and then you’re where the proposed station would be.
    Village of Floral Park has been very vocal about how this project will bring increased traffic to their community every day.

    1. Right, that was my point: Shuttles from Bellerose would have to drive a few blocks past private homes. That hardly seems reason to build a whole new station, though.

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