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Cuomo tours Hudson River tunnels in push for federal funding

"The tunnel has a number of structural issues and they are only going to get worse," said Cuomo (in black jacket), as he toured the Hudson River rail tunnel last night.
Photo – Gov. Cuomo's Flickr account


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on President Donald Trump and other Washington, D.C., officials to "stop playing politics" and fund the federal government's share of the Hudson tunnel project.

Cuomo made the comments late last night as he toured the North River tunnels to see the damage both tubes sustained during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The tubes were inundated with seawater, causing falling concrete, corroded electrical cabling and standing water damage.

The storm damage has been compounded by the century-old tunnel's age and intensity of its current use by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains traveling between New Jersey and New York City and beyond.

"There [is] no specific agreed-to plan with the federal government to actually repair the tunnels," Cuomo said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

The tunnels were built in cast-iron tubes placed on top of the river bed. Over time, they've continued to sink into the silt of the river bed, which makes water intrusion an ongoing issue, the governor said.

"These are also tunnels that were damaged significantly by Hurricane Sandy," said Cuomo. "And people think that a tunnel can fill with saltwater and then you pump out the saltwater and everything's fine — that's not actually the case. Much of the residue remains and continues to do damage. So, the tunnel has a number of structural issues and they are only going to get worse."

Cuomo said he will send a video of the tunnel tour to Trump "so that the president has a visual understanding of the serious deterioration of the tunnels."

The existing tubes require repairs prior to construction of a new tunnel. Amtrak, which owns the tunnels, has estimated that one or both of the existing tubes could fail in the next 10 to 15 years, according to a report by WGEM, an NBC affiliate that covered Cuomo's tunnel tour.

Replacing the tunnel could cost a reported $13 billion.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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