NEW YORK (AP) – A state panel has again failed to approve a $900 million project to turn Manhattan’s main post office into a massive new rail gateway to New Jersey.

The three-member Public Authorities Control Board did not take a scheduled vote Friday on the so-called Moynihan Station project, which would make a rail station out of the post office adjacent to Pennsylvania Station. The delay came after the State Assembly’s representative failed to appear for the emergency meeting. The board’s approval is needed before the project can move forward.

Gov. George E. Pataki backs the plan, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver thinks a more ambitious proposal to also modernize Pennsylvania Station possesses more benefits for the city.

Silver has also questioned the adequacy of financing for the project.

Pataki administration officials say the money and plans are ready, and they want the board to try another vote at its Wednesday meeting.

The renovation of the Farley post office, which sits just across from Madison Square Garden and covers two city blocks, was expected to be completed by 2010.

The expanded landmark is to include 300,000 square feet of space for the train station, 850,000 square feet of retail space and 250,000 square feet for the post office.

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