Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York want the federal government to pay half of a $20 billion commuter-rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Still, they’ve been squabbling over who should pay for it-now, they’ve offered to split half the cost of a new tunnel if the feds pony up for the rest.
We are writing jointly in an attempt to move the stalled project forward by putting a funding proposal on the table that we believe is realistic, appropriate and fair: “split the responsibility for the cost”, the governors wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The letter comes at the end of summer during which NJ Transit delays reached at least 60 minutes while Amtrak performed repairs to overhead wires resulting in single-tracking in the existing rail tunnel.
The proposal suggests a federal grant commitment of 50 percent of the cost with New York and New Jersey, while the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey develops a financial plan for the other half. “If we have the funding, we will get it done”.
As it stands now, advocates say it’ll be 2030 or 2035 by the time a new tunnel is completed, when 7-year-old Morgan will be in her mid-20s. “We will work with our delegation partners and the administration to maximize any and all federal and Amtrak grants and financing to get shovels in the ground ASAP”, Mr, Schumer said.
A new Hudson River tunnel project would “dwarf” such projects: “Our states are committed to doing our part and to contributing funding, personnel and resources”, the governors wrote.
Along with in search of federal grants, the governors are additionally asking that the federal authorities expedite environmental and planning approvals so the venture could be accomplished as shortly as attainable.
The letter continues by stating that Hurricane Sandy further worsened the situation, and acknowledges that the task at hand will cost more than a new La Guardia Airport, Tappan Zee Bridge and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge combined.
Five years ago, Governor Christie killed a tunnel project because he said New York was not paying its fair share.
Amtrak officials have identified expanding train capacity between New Jersey and New York as one of the company’s most pressing needs. “Now that the rail tunnel plan is in place, we need to put together a solid plan for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal”.
Killing the earlier rail tunnel, known as the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project, was one of Christie’s first high-profile decisions after he was elected in 2009 in a surprise win over then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat.
“We will find a way to pay for the tunnel”, Cuomo said.
New Jersey transportation officials have reiterated Christie’s position on the canceled rail tunnel as transportation advocates have sought to turn the decision into a 2016 campaign issue.
Martin Robins, who was project director for the ARC tunnel, called the latest plan “a second bite at the apple”. In August, Schumer had called on the two states to create a nonprofit development agency to finance the project. “Because I’m fighting for my state and my state needs this tunnel and we were trying to get Washington to move”.