We got our first real look at the deterioration that has taken place in the Hudson River rail tunnel that connects New York and New Jersey thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo leading a film crew down there on Wednesday night.
The purpose of the trip was to document the disrepair, and send a video to the White House, specifically urging president Donald Trump to provide federal aid for the completion of the Gateway tunnel project, as this development is officially known.
The states of New York and New Jersey have already agreed to contribute half of the estimated $12.7 billion it will cost to repair the existing tunnel and build a new one, and the states expect the federal government to contribute the rest. The Obama administration had agreed to fund the project, but the Trump administration is not on board, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation told the paper that a majority of the tunnel users are local riders and hence the states should contribute more. The tunnel is primarily used by New Jersey transit, but it is also used by trains running between Washington, D.C., and Boston, and is one of the major arteries of the Northeast corridor.
About 450 trains pass through the tunnel on weekdays, and about 24 trains run through it per hour during rush hour. Without funds for a new tunnel, the existing one will be forced to undergo gradual repairs, which will limit its usage to six trains per hour during rush hour, severely impacting those commuting between New Jersey and Manhattan.
When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the tunnel was already over one hundred years old, and the storm caused the tunnel to be inundated with seawater leading to falling concrete, corroded electrical cabling and standing water damage. Much of this damage has been captured in the video. The White House hasn’t responded to it yet.