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City’s $82.2B Budget Earmarks Funds for Crucial Water Tunnel

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The mayor has set aside $21 million to expedite work on the city's third water tunnel

The De Blasio administration is prioritizing a third water tunnel that will help deliver clean drinking water to Brooklyn and Queens within 48 hours of an emergency shutdown of City Tunnel #2. The mayor announced the initiative, part of the city's $82.2 billion executive budget, on Tuesday (h/t NYT).

The administration has allotted $21 million to immediately begin disinfecting and testing new sections of the third tunnel. The project's new budget will help ensure that the tunnel will be ready as a backup water source by 2017, the Times reports. About five million people in Brooklyn and Queens would be affected by an emergency shutdown of City Tunnel #2.

Tunnel #2, which has been serving the city continuously for 80 years, has never been shut for inspection. On Tuesday the mayor said that the $21 million investment will allow for "critical redundancy" in the system.

The infrastructure for Tunnel #3 is largely in place except for a few connecting sections in Queens. The administration initially planned to lay the new sections of tunnel before disinfecting it, but the Times says that at the mayor's insistence engineers have begun developing a more immediate plan of action. Work on the new sections will be complete around 2025.

Currently, should an emergency occur, Tunnel 3 could deliver water to Brooklyn and Queens, but it would have to be boiled before consumed.