The long-delayed expansion of New York's Penn Station is set to begin.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday the first phase of the $1 billion project will start by the middle of 2012 and be finished in 2016.
Phase I will expand the 33rd Street connector between Penn Station and the Farley post office building across 8th Avenue. It will create two new entrances into the station from the Farley building and improve access to tracks by adding escalators, elevators and stairways.
Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye says NJ Transit riders who now have to walk nearly two crosstown blocks underground will be able to get into the station or above ground quicker. He toured the site where the first phase of construction will take place.
The project will cost $270 million and is being paid for mostly by federal money.
The second phase will turn the basement of the post office into Amtrak's new terminal.