New rail tunnels under the Hudson River are needed to reduce delays, but the expensive project won’t work without a greater financial commitment from the federal government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The Democrat said Washington’s proposal to cover $3 billion of the estimated $14 billion tunnel project isn’t enough. He and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are expected to meet soon with federal officials to discuss funding for the stalled plan, which comes after a series of delays that underscored the age and condition of the area’s transportation infrastructure.
“Everyone agrees that we need the tunnels,” Cuomo said in a radio interview. “If the federal government can make a significant contribution, than let’s go. We have the shovels. We need it. We’ll make it a priority. But we need to fund it.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote to Cuomo and Christie on Monday calling for a meeting to discuss the tunnel project.
The two tunnels under the Hudson River were built more than a century ago and the power cables are 80 years old. Electrical problems or disabled trains in the tunnels caused delays for NJ Transit and Amtrak travelers four days last week and again Monday.
Christie canceled a tunnel project in 2010 over concerns that New Jersey would be responsible for cost overruns. He said last week if he’s elected president he’ll get a new tunnel built if the states and the federal government are equal partners.