New York has been greenlighted for more than $500 million in federal loans to covert the Farley Post Office building in Manhattan into a modern transit hub, replacing the rabbit warren of tunnels known as Penn Station.
The credit program, formerly called the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act but better known as TIFIA, has been used repeatedly by the state for big construction projects, including the State Island ferry terminals and the new Tappen Zee and Goethals bridges.
The Farley loan would cover about a third of the $1.6 billion project and would be paid back from rent and tax agreements from eventual tenants of the station.
Long Island business leaders were expected to be briefed on the Farley project, and other Cuomo infrastructure initiatives, at a Tuesday luncheon featuring the governor and MTA chief Joe Lhota.
Politico NY reported that Fitch Ratings gave the Farley loan a BBB- rating — one notch above junk — but took comfort in the fact that the MTA has signed an agreement offering to cover the loan payments if the rent and tax repayments fall short.
“Absent the MTA support, PILOT uncertainty at this stage of the project would preclude the TIFIA loan from achieving an investment-grade rating,” Fitch analysts wrote.