'Cross' Harbor Tunnel Project Off the List
by Larry Penner
May 17, 2017 | 1268 views | 0 0 comments | 128 128 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement that the Port Authority will spend up to $70 million for advancing an environmental study, as well as design and engineering, for the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel still leaves a $9.9 billion shortfall to complete this project.

Last year, Manhattana and Brooklyn congressman Jerrold Nadler claimed that there is real progress for his favorite project. This doesn't add up if you look at past history.

This project has been championed by Congressman Nadler as his number one transportation priority for almost 30 years. After all that time, it has yet to progress beyond the federal environmental review process.

In theory, it might move thousands of trucks on a daily basis off the roads and on to railroad tracks for significant portions of the journey between New Jersey and Long Island.

Construction of any new freight, tunnel or bridge project can take years, if not decades. This is before the project reaches beneficial use.

Construction for the 2nd Avenue subway began in the 1960's. The first segment of three stations between 63rd and 96th Streets on the upper east side of Manhattan was finally opened to the public on January 1, 2017 at a cost of $4.5 billion.

Construction for a tunnel to bring the Long Island Rail Road from Queens into Grand Central Terminal began in the 1960's. The latest completion date is now December 2023 with a cost of $10.8 billion.

Any guess who will find the $10 billion or more needed for construction of the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel? Neither the Port Authority, Congressman Nadler or Governor Cuomo has yet to identify and secure the billions needed to fund final design and engineering, let alone construction.

The proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel is just another in the continuing series of feasibility studies and environmental reviews sponsored by various governmental agencies and public officials.

They generate money for consultants and free publicity for elected officials, who promise a bright future but all to often move on to another public office before delivering. Taxpayers are frequently left holding an empty bag with unfilled promises.

Some residents who oppose the project are concerned about significant future increases in the number, length and frequency of freight trains, but they need not worry.

At the end of the day, don't count on seeing any shovel in the ground any time

soon.

It is wishful thinking that the Port Authority can count on billions in future federal funding to make up the difference. Project supporters may not live long enough to see this in their lifetime.

Larry Penner worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.

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