SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Commuters are fed up with train delays and want a fix, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the federal government is giving no financial support to build new Hudson River Tunnels.
It’s a never-ending battle. NJ Transit riders suffered a night of delays Thursday as fed up commuters sounded off on social media about the lack of communication from the agency.
It seems there is little hope for relief. The federal government will consider funding rehabilitation work in the existing tunnels, but much-needed new tunnels are off the table.
“There has been no desire to fund the new tunnels. Repair of the existing tunnels is an undeniable fact,” Cuomo said.
“Given the time, the cost and the complexity of building an entirely new tunnel, the department is working with Amtrak to design and validate a faster and more cost-effective method,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. “Beginning rehab work in the near-term is the right move.”
But does an overhaul of existing tunnels solve the problem?
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says that plan is not feasible, period.
“Two issues. One is capacity. So we need more tracks. And two is fixing tracks that were laid in 1910. So delaying the capacity while trying to fix tracks on the fly that are already the most crowded tracks in the world, that just does not work,” he said.
Cuomo suggests making repairs as the MTA did on the L train line and rack the sunken wires up on the walls to solve electrical issues, but that drastically reduced service.
“The optimum on Gateway would be build the new tunnels and then go repair the old tunnels. That would be the optimum … But to repair the old tunnels, even if you use the L train methodology, you have delays,” Cuomo said.
So what’s Plan B? CBSN New York’s Meg Baker asked leaders if there is a way around President Donald Trump and if they have thought of other ways to fund new tunnels. No one seemed to have an answer.