MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Governors Kathy Hochul and Phil Murphy joined Mayor Eric Adams and MTA officials Thursday to announce the latest plans to renovate Penn Station.
They want to change it from a cramped two-story structure to a sweeping single-level train hall, and they said they'll begin accepting proposals for the massive undertaking.
"This Penn Station development is crucial for us," Adams said. "It's our Empire State Building moment. Because no matter who we are or what we do, transportation is at the heart of our ability to live a prosperous life."
Penn Station has long been in the crosshairs of governors looking to renovate the decades-old transit hub, linking MTA, NJ Transit, and Amtrak trains with the city's subway system in a claustrophobic maze of cramped, confusing corridors.
"Today, I'm very proud to announce a significant milestone in our progress," Hochul said. "We are officially moving into the design phase of the new Penn Station, and we're going to start accepting proposals from architecture and engineering firms to guide the Penn Station reconstruction."
Hochul previously outlined plans to remove lower floor ceilings to create a "grand" single-level train hall that would make commuters feel safer.
The plan includes 8 acres of public space, 18 new entrances, and 1,800 residential units -- 540 of which will be considered affordable housing.
Urban planners say building a residential community in the neighborhood will provide cohesion and is essential to preserve the integrity of the project.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said the $7 billion project is designed to redeem the train hub's tarnished image in the eyes of New Yorkers.
"We could have a 100-foot high space, skylit, the size of Grand Central Station's train hall and Moynihan Train Hall combined," Lieber said previously, referring to the cross-town stations for the Metro-North commuter rail and Amtrak.
The nation's busiest rail hub pre-pandemic has long been considered the "most reviled transportation facility in the country," Lieber said.
The plan, announced last November, significantly scaled-down a Cuomo-era vision that had become mired in controversy.