NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A three-block-long concrete casing is under construction, in an effort to preserve a possible right-of-way for two flood-resistant rail tunnels into Penn Station.
Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia said the tunnels would improve the reliability, capacity and resiliency of Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.
The groundbreaking included Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) In May, they announced $185 million in federal superstorm Sandy relief funding for the project.
“Manhattan cannot exist unless you can get on and off the island,” Schumer said. “So it’s vital. And if we had not done this, it would be over — game, set, match.”
The tunnels themselves will cost $15 billion, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. It’s not clear where the remaining funding will come from.
“Unfortunately, the current budget situation in Washington makes it unlikely that we will be able to increase the funding for critical transportation programs in the near future,” Nadler said.
The Sandy storm surge flooded four tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers.
The storm halted Amtrak Northeast Corridor and NJ Transit service into Manhattan for about five days, and also severely hampered Long Island Rail Road service.
Two tunnels were out of commission for months after the storm, so severely damaged that signal cases short-circuited in corrosive flood waters.
The lawmakers are still seeking more funding for Northeast Corridor rail service.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
- Huma Abedin Announces Separation From Anthony Weiner
- Giuliani: Beyonce’s VMA Performance ‘A Shame’
- ‘Willy Wonka’ Star Gene Wilder Dead At 83
- ‘Stop De Blasio’ Ballot Line To Appear In 2 Assembly Races
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)