People are getting fed up with the century-old, crumbling Hudson River tunnels. One Jersey resident even went so far as to hire an architecture firm to design a sky bridge connecting Jersey City to Battery Park City. But grand visions aside, the state of the infrastructure is serious. To illustrate this point, but make it a bit more simple to digest, the Regional Plan Association has released a three-minute animated video called “Tunnel Trouble” that, as Crain’s puts it, “shows a hellish commute for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak riders if new tunnels are not built.” The narrator states, “they are the biggest bottleneck in the metro region’s transit network, causing delays that ripple up and down the northeast corridor.”
“If we don’t act now to shore up and expand our infrastructure, we are risking an economic disaster whose effects would be felt far beyond the New York metropolitan region,” said Thomas Wright, narrator of the video and head of the Regional Plan Association. He takes viewers through how the tunnels are being eaten away by saltwater residue that flooded them during Hurricane Sandy and how if one tube needs to be closed for repairs, rail service gets cut by 75 percent. He also notes that the tubes were built in 1910, but Amtrak officials warn they might only last another decade or so. And even if they were in pristine condition, they still couldn’t handle the ridership demand, which has grown by 155 percent since 1990.
Last month, Governors Cuomo and Christie agreed to cover half of the $20 billion infrastructure project, but called upon the federal government to cover the rest. They also pushed for the Port Authority to finance and oversee construction, “a clear bid by both men to retain control over the megaproject,” notes Crain’s. According to federal officials, planning has commenced, but in the meantime, the Regional Plan Association is urging advocates to sign a petition and attend an event this Friday with Senator Cory Booker and regional experts to discuss the issue.
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