Sen. Charles Schumer

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Schumer On Penn Access Plan: 'Amtrak Has To Step Up To The Plate'

January 18, 2019 - 5:48 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A bid to help commuters who live near Long Island Sound has turned into a squabble between two railroads and now Sen. Chuck Schumer is putting the pressure on Amtrak.

The plan is to build new Metro-North stations near Long Island Sound, including in Co-op City, where there are existing train tracks owned by Amtrak.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says if Metro-North could use the existing tracks, commute times in Co-Op City and other areas would be cut dramatically.

"This project's basically a no-brainer," Schumer said. "We create a one-seat train ride for Westchester, the East Bronx, the South Bronx."

But Amtrak wants to be paid for the use of its tracks, and Schumer says the railroad is asking for too much money for access.

"It is the view of Metro-North, it is the view of the MTA, it is my view that Amtrak is asking too much," said Schumer. "Amtrak has to be more flexible, Amtrak has to not delay, Amtrak has to step up to the plate."

The trains would run to Penn Station through the East Side Access Project. 

"Every community from the South Bronx in Morrisania to Pelham Park, Parchester all the way up to New Rochelle would benefit," Schumer said.

Amtrak has released a statement saying it appreciates Schumer's leadership and the importance of this project, adding the two sides are making progress.