Sunday, May 4, 2014

There's a $185M tunnel to NJ should we ever need one

From Crains:

Taking shape on Manhattan's West Side is a $185 million, federally funded tunnel that leads to nowhere, for now.

The 800-foot-long, 35-foot-deep concrete trench could someday lead to two new commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River to New Jersey, if the billions needed to build them ever materialize.

The access tunnel is being built now because the massive Hudson Yards development with six skyscrapers, the tallest being 80 stories, will soon be built on top of it. Trying to dig such a huge trench through the bedrock after those buildings are completed, officials say, would be an engineering and financial nightmare.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was among the lawmakers who pushed Congress to approve Superstorm Sandy relief money for the planned flood-resistant access tunnel, calling it mitigation to protect infrastructure from future storms. But he argued it would have to be built now because the skyscraper developers could not be delayed indefinitely.

"We asked them to delay months, but if we asked them to delay years, they may have said no," said Mr. Schumer, referring to the Related Cos., the main Hudson Yards developers. "Sandy relief funding was there, available, the criteria fit, and the money was getting through quickly and fit the timetable."

The access tunnel is expected to be completed in fall 2015.


Anonymous said...

To be clear, we do need more trans hudson transportation infrastructure, but it will cost a lot more than 185 million dollars. That's just the cost to make the project doable down the line once the billions it will cost are available.

Anonymous said...

"But he argued it would have to be built now because the skyscraper developers could not be delayed indefinitely."

Really? So developers have become equivalent to a force of nature.

Who the hell runs this country. Are the citizens still in charge, or have the oligarchs already taken over.

J said...

anon 2-the supreme court has already answered your question by equating corporations with people and money with speech,as the elected ones have decided to become proud willing parasitic whores for their benefactors,their sociopath
constituents.It is not even subtle anymore.

but don't worry...

Anonymous said...

The USA is an oligarchy.

A new trans-hudson tunnel is rather desperately needed, but will not happen until complete disaster strikes (such as a collapse in the current tunnels - which are over 100 years old).

The feds shouldn't be paying for it though. It should have been on the 'developers' to pay for it. But hey, they're mega rich and need a hand out from us working fools.

Anonymous said...

Better believe evil Chucky is getting a nice piece of the action on this development.

Anonymous said...

Crappy why is this tagged government waste?

Queens Crapper said...

See 2 comments above yours for the answer.

Anonymous said...

There would be a new transhudson crossing under construction right now if Christie hadn't killed ARC. It seems unlikely that you have to wait for the tunnels to 'collapse'. They are already at capacity. Why is it illegitimate for the feds to fund this in part? They fund transportation projects all over the country, including highways in Texas. Why not train tunnels in NY and NJ? Why should the developers of hudson yards pay for a project that will greatly benefit NY, NJ, and all states along the Northeast corridor?

This project makes a future rail tunnel on the proposed Gateway alignment feasible. Again, how is that wasteful?

Anonymous said...

Penn station and the tunnels to it were built by a railroad corporation without a dime of government funding. Chew on that for a minute.

Why shouldn't the developer pay? Any developer not interested in building it should have been sent on their way. This is publicly owned Manhattan real estate - there's no reason we shouldn't be demanding more value for it. This is just another corporate handout.

At no point did I say the developer should pay to build the rest of the tunnel over to NJ - just the segment under the property - though now that you mention it, the value of their buildings will go up significantly with better transportation options. So yes - they should have to kick in for the trans-hudson tunnel too. In fact all new construction should be taxed significantly more to pay for infrastructure improvements throughout the city.

The only thing we will agree on is that Christie is an idiot, and that the government should be investing in infrastructure. If it doesn't have enough money to - take the money from those who have it. In NYC - that's the real estate developers. Mega rich, filthy scum that they are.

Anonymous said...

If you think new hudson tunnels can't be built until there is some disaster and the old ones are shutdown or collapse, then you might not have long to wait. Schumer pushing this access tunnel project is good government. Planning ahead so that in the long run money doesn't have to be wasted when the new trans hudson tunnels are inevitably built. This isn't government waste. Far from it. There's plenty of waste, plenty of crap from Schumer. But this isn't either.

Anonymous said...

'Penn station and the tunnels to it were built by a railroad corporation without a dime of government funding.'

Hmm..a private company was able to build a rail tunnel when they weren't competing with highly subsidized government road networks and highly subsidized air travel but can't now that they are? Big surprise. Even with the tolls on the vehicular crossings under/over the hudson, the total amount paid by drivers doesn't come close to covering the entire cost of the road network used, never mind the negative externalities that come from private vehicle use. How could anyone compete with that?

'In fact all new construction should be taxed significantly more to pay for infrastructure improvements throughout the city.'

Why should a new home in Eastern Queens be taxed to pay for expanded Metronorth service in the Bronx? If someone under the current zoning regime has the right to build something, increasing whatever tax you apply to them purely because they haven't built yet is theft. If on the other hand there is a rezoning, or they are given a zoning variance, and in exchange you apply an annual property tax surcharge for some set number of years to pay for infrastructure improvements to accommodate the construction above and beyond what they were previously permitted, that is fine by me, though indefinitely leaving their property taxes higher would cause problems. For more general rezonings that increase property values there shouldn't necessarily be a property tax surcharge on existing buildings that don't undergo new construction, though in some cases it may be appropriate, but rather a surcharge on real estate transfer taxes so that you don't kick anyone out of their home, but still allow the city/MTA to 'profit' off of the improvements they are paying for when real estate changes hands.

Whether or not the hudson yards development project could have been structured to give the city a better deal, which I believe it could have been, it was put together before ARC was cancelled, and so it seems that it wouldn't be fair to reopen that deal once it was completed and force the developer to pay for a project that was not existent until after their deal was signed. The tunnel box is needed to connect the new Gateway and existing hudson river tunnel tracks I think. ARC wouldn't have connected to the existing tracks, so I'm not sure this work would even be done if ARC had not been canceled. The Hudson yards developers are delaying their project to allow the tunnel box to be built. At this stage that's enough accommodation to satisfy me.

Anonymous said...

That Sandy "slush fund" is the gift that keeps on giving. $185 million for 800 feet. It's a long way to Weehawken as the song goes.

Now, if there was only some money to add a 10th Ave & 42nd Street Station to the 7 extension...

Anonymous said...

We need an LI-NJ tunnel so folks don't clog up Manhattan to get there