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.