Image via Office of Gov. Cuomo depicting the Javits’ upcoming expansion
As the “summer of hell” days of emergency repairs to Penn Station’s rail system roll by, the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit transportation advocacy group, is intent on tackling the transit system’s biggest messes; specifically, the association warned that “public transportation across the Hudson River is in crisis,” and is in the process of updating its regional plan to address that issue and other transportation snarls. Among the group’s suggestions: building a terminal for intercity buses underneath the Jacob K. Javits center on Manhattan’s West Side, the New York Times reports.
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Photo of Hudson Yards Amtrak tunnel encasement via Tutor Perini
Currently, the first part of two box tunnels under the Hudson Yards development, below 10th and 11th Avenues on Manhattan’s west side, sits mostly finished. While construction of the final piece has yet to begin, when it’s complete the remaining section would link the tubes to the proposed new tunnel under the Hudson River, providing better access to Penn Station. However, according to the New York Times, both tunnel projects, which fall under the multi-billion dollar Gateway Program, lack the funding needed to finish.
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According to a report released Thursday by the federal government, constructing a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repairing the existing one could cost nearly $13 billion, almost a 50 percent increase from an earlier $7.7 billion estimate. Transit officials say they are moving forward with the project because of its urgency; the two-track tunnel, which takes Amtrak riders and NJ Transit commuters to and from New York City, is over 100 years old and was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. According to Crain’s, the report, which evaluated the plan’s environmental and economic impacts, follows the recent withdrawal of the U.S. Transportation Department from the Gateway corporation board.
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The two tunnels under the Hudson River that need repair, image via Amtrak
Despite forming an infrastructure task force made up of two New York-based developers, the Trump administration has withdrawn from the board of the Gateway Program, a $23.9 billion project that would add a second rail beneath the Hudson River. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said it is not their “practice to serve in such a capacity on other local transportation projects.” As the number of commuters entering the city from NJ continues to grow, the purpose of the Gateway Program was to double rail capacity between the two states as well as fix the Hudson River tunnel’s crumbling infrastructure, which was damaged by severe flooding during Hurricane Sandy. If one of the two tubes needs to be shut down before a new tunnel is built, train capacity into NY would be reduced by 75 percent.
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As 6sqft reported recently, President Trump may include two major New York transportation projects in his proposed budget cuts, including the Gateway Program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem. The Gateway Program, which would add a much-needed second rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and upgrade aging rail infrastructure in New York and New Jersey, has been relying on the federal government for half of its estimated $24 billion cost. WNYC reports that even if the funding is pulled, the agency may look to funding from a public-private partnership.
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Earlier this year, President Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, hired two NY-based developers to head an infrastructure commission, which oversees spending on his proposed $1 trillion plan to improve the country’s bridges and roads. Despite this clear connection to the Big Apple, the president refuses to say whether he will include two major transportation projects for the city, both of which his proposed budget defunds, as the New York Times reported. As of now, Trump has proposed eliminating a program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem.
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Under President Trump’s first budget proposal, New York City will lose hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, housing, transportation, homeland security, and other city agencies. According to the Daily News, city schools and afterschool programs can be expected to lose $140 million, homeland security grants will be cut $190 million, and NYCHA will lose $370 million, which is on top of the $76 million cut they were already expecting. Ironically, the budget also slashes transit projects by $2 billion, which means completing projects like the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway trans-Hudson River tunnel may be on the chopping block, despite the fact that they were specifically called out in Trump’s previous $1 trillion infrastructure plan to receive $14.2 billion and $12 billion respectively.
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Reporters at McClatchy obtained documents that the Trump transition team provided to the National Governor’s Association detailing 50 projects across the country that would take priority under the President’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and among them are two NYC-based projects. The Gateway Project, which would repair the aging and Sandy-damaged Hudson River rail tunnels and build a new one, would cost $12 billion and create 34,000 jobs. Phases two and three of the Second Avenue Subway would cost $14.2 billion and create 16,000 direct jobs.
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The $24 billion plan to construct two rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River has been designated a priority, which will get it fast-tracked through environmental and permitting stages and trim development time by a year or more, the Wall Street Journal reports; with construction beginning in 2019, the tunnels could be operational as early as 2024, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a news conference at Penn Station on Friday. Both Amtrak and NJ Transit will use the new tunnels, which are among the first steps in a broader plan by Amtrak find ways to handle double the current number of passenger trains running beneath the Hudson River.
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In a city where hundreds of interesting happenings occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Art Nerd‘s philosophy is a combination of observation, participation, education and of course a party to create the ultimate well-rounded week. Jump ahead for Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer’s top end of week picks for 6sqft readers!
Summer jams mean we do things a little differently in the art world, assuming most of the population escapes the hot city streets each weekend. Thursday and Friday nights are the art-heavy celebrations of the art openings we love to see and be seen at.
Explore the pop-color collage world of Anthony Iacono, or a real life Facebook status as performed by Katya Grokhovsky, or become part of the performance with Quinn Dukes’ “Mapping Ritual.” Friday it’s time for the je ne sais quois, first with an exhibition and Edith Piaf’s 100th birthday at Dejavu Gallery, then a free screening of a Tunisian love triangle, “Goha.” If you’re still around Saturday, spend the day meeting your makers at Open House New York’s open studios across the city, or settle into the air conditioning of the Guggenheim and explore the wild wild world of Matthew Barney in an all-day film screening.
Get the details on all these events here