Cuomo: LIRR Operation to Leave ‘Dingy’ Penn Station for New Digs

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Tell us how you really feel, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.During a presentation Tuesday morning reminiscent of Vice President Joe Biden’s dismissive attitude toward dilapidated LaGuardia Airport, the New York governor excoriated Penn Station as “terrible” and “dingy” as he announced plans for the state to move the Long Island Rail Road’s operations across the street to the historic James A. Farley Post Office building, which has been vacant for years.“Penn Station is the train version of LaGuardia,” Cuomo said in his remarks at an event hosted by the Association for a Better New York. “It is decrepit and it’s an affront to riders.”Plans to transition the old Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue into a train station have been in the works for 20 years, but originally only included migrating Amtrak’s operations.The revitalized project is much more ambitions. Cuomo said the Moynihan Train Hall at the defunct post office will house both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas.The new 250,000-square-foot facility will stand 10 stories high—50 percent larger than the existing Penn Station—and be bigger than Grand Central Terminal. It will include an acre of glass arches and a 70,000-square-foot balcony for “world class” dining and shopping.Cuomo also sounded a lot like Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.“It will be the best of the best,” Cuomo said of the Moynihan Train Hall.The new train hall is slated to be completed in 2020, Cuomo said.Additionally, Cuomo said a Request for Proposals (RFP) went out Tuesday for a redesign of Penn Station, which is estimated to cost $220 million. That plan includes a new concourse that will connect Penn Station to Moynihan Train Hall while spanning all LIRR tracks along 8th Avenue. The two subway stations located inside the underground facility will also be remodeled, Cuomo said.Artist rendering of a renovated Penn Station, featuring wider corridors and an LED ceiling. Credit: MTAThe governor made clear that he’s offended by Penn Station’s current state of disrepair. He said a revamp is long overdue.“New York was constructed and designed and built, that’s how we got to this place,” Cuomo said, adding that other regions—in the US and internationally—have surpassed New York in terms of modernization.“You either build and grow, or you stay where you are and you stagnate and you falter and you let the world pass you by,” he said.Penn Station, which is owned by Amtrak, is currently at triple the capacity it was designed for, with 650,000 passengers coming through its doors each day—more than John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports combined.“It is dirty. It is dingy. It is dark, and that is not what New York is all about,” the governor said. “It’s the equivalent of LaGuardia Airport, which has now become the national laughing stock, right?”He then dismissed the original plans to move only Amtrak operations from Penn Station as nonsensical.“You’d leave the Long Island riders in the old Pennsylvania Station,” Cuomo added.The remodeled Penn Station will boast concourses three times the size of the current train hub, be more open and feature LED ceilings displaying a blue sky.Three firms have won bids to collectively design and construct Moynihan: Related, Vornado, and Skanska, at a cost of $1.6 billion.James A. Farley Post Office across the street form Penn Station will be transformed into a train hall housing Amtrak and the LIRR. Photo credit: Juan Miguel LagoThe initial Moynihan development has been in the works for two decades. A development contract was signed in 2005 but it did not include any deadlines—and so, work never got done. Cuomo said the state cancelled that contract and had companies rebid for the development. The new deal states that developers will incur penalties if the project is not completed on time.Aware of the natural-born skepticism inherent in all New Yorkers, Cuomo said this project, unlike the original, is moving forward.“The train is leaving the station,” he said.(Featured photo credit: Artist rendering of new Moynihan Train Hall at Farley Post Office)last_img read more

Sampension, PKA reap DKK1bn as central bank fights speculators

first_imgTwo Danish pension funds have revealed they made profits of DKK500m (€67m) or more on the financial markets in the first two months of this year from the effects of the wave of currency speculation on the Danish krone.Labour-market pension fund Sampension and PKA, which runs three labour-market pension funds, made quick gains of DKK500m and DKK600m, respectively, in January and February as the Danish central bank (Danish National Bank) fought off upwards pressure on the krone partly by dropping some interest rates into negative territory.The krone had attracted heavy buying from speculators after the Swiss National Bank surprised markets in January by abandoning the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro.The European Central Bank’s (ECB) announcement that it would start large-scale quantitative easing later this year also created buying pressure for krone. The Danish National Bank has since said two-thirds of the krone buying in January and February came from domestic pension funds, insurers, investment funds and companies seeking to hedge different kinds of euro assets by buying kroner in the form of futures.Kasper Ullegård, head of fixed income at Sampension, told IPE: “We had previously established a relative position where we would benefit if Danish interest rates fell more than euro rates (…) and that’s what happened when the krone came under pressure.” In the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, Sampension had bought Danish government bonds and sold euro-denominated, high-quality government bonds, issued by countries such as Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.It had also been buying Danish mortgage bonds and selling euro-denominated, AAA-rated covered bonds.As well as this, in the derivatives markets, it had been buying receive fixed, pay floating in krone interest rate swaps (IRS) and pay fixed, receive floating in euro interest rate swaps – matching maturity for the krone and euro swaps.“When we did all this, we had no idea that was going to happen,” said Ullegård. “We thought the Danish economy was sound, so there was no way interest rates would exceed euro rates on a prolonged basis – we would argue that the opposite should be true.”Since Denmark operates with a significant current account surplus, with capital flowing into Denmark every day, that money needs to be diverted with low comparative interest rates set by the central bank, he said.Effectively, Sampension was betting on Danish interest rates being lower than euro rates, and when that scenario became exaggeratedly the case, for a phase at least, it closed positions to take the profit.“This was more than what we hoped for,” Ullegård said.Although he believes there could yet be another wave of speculation pushing the krone, Sampension firmly believes the Danish National Bank will succeed in maintaining the peg.“It won’t break because it’s institutional – it is clearly the primary goal of Danish central bank policy,” he said.Meanwhile, Pension fund administrator PKA, which runs three labour-market pension funds, also made a large profit in the first two months of this year on the foreign exchange markets as a result of the sudden drop in krone interest rates.The company hedges its currency exposure using forex forwards, effectively selling dollars and buying Danish krone, to avoid having to pay a high capital charge due to regulatory rules.Inger Huus Pedersen, head of fixed income at PKA, told IPE: “In January, obviously some in the market thought the krone should appreciate.“When you have krone forwards, and Danish interest rates fall, you make money.”Huus Pedersen and her team reacted to the changed market conditions with a tactical move, changing the forex hedges into contracts that hedged euro, rather than the domestic currency, against dollars.The regulation allows pension funds to hedge foreign currency exposure against either kroner or partly euro.“The net result was that we earned around DKK600m on the transactions, some of it realised and some not,” she said.Huus Pedersen said PKA would not have switched its hedging from kroner to euro unless it was absolutely certain the krone would not be detached from its peg to the euro.“The law allows pension funds to hold so much euro unhedged assets, that this is an implicit confirmation of the peg to the euro,” she said.last_img read more

Marshall Islands Court Denies Frontline’s DHT Injunction

first_imgThe High Court of the Marshall Islands has denied Frontline’s request for a preliminary injunction relating to the vessel acquisition agreement between DHT Holdings and BW Group Limited.On June 7, 2017, the court rejected Frontline’s arguments and issued an order denying the company’s motion for a preliminary injunction, according to the information provided by DHT Holdings.The court cited Frontline’s failure “to demonstrate a probability of success on the merits of its claims.”In particular, the court noted that the acquisition of BW’s fleet fell within the sound discretion of the DHT board of directors’ business judgment, and that Frontline “has no likelihood of success” on any challenge to the rights plan implemented by the DHT Board, as the rights plan was a reasonable response to Frontline’s actions.Both the High Court of the Marshall Islands and the Supreme Court of the State of New York have now rejected Frontline’s attempt to interfere with DHT’s acquisition of BW’s fleet.last_img read more