By Larry Penner
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5 million study to look at the feasibility of constructing a tunnel from Long Island to either the Bronx, Westchester or Connecticut, which he proudly announced months ago, has yet to begin. There is still time to spend these funds for better purposes. The concept is nothing new, has been considered for decades and deemed unfeasible.
Property condemnation at either end could displace thousands of residents and businesses. By the time all the court cases would be resolved, it could take years and cost billions. Add the costs for construction of any tunnel and it would be billions more. The estimated cost for the Gateway Tunnel, which would connect New Jersey with Penn Station, is $24 billion. Crossing Long Island Sound would be a far greater distance than the Hudson River. Can you imagine the cost of this project? Proposed construction of a new tunnel across Long Island Sound also has been previously studied by various planning and transportation agencies going back decades.
Too many transportation studies championed by numerous elected officials are nothing more than placebos designed to placate demagogues who are not regular users of the numerous public transportation alternatives that have been available for decades.
The real problem is finding money to make things happen. All too often funding for many studies would have been better spent on real capital and operating service improvements instead of just lining the pockets of consultants. How many studies end up on the shelf of planners just collecting dust? How many times do we end up with a series of press conferences and news releases designed to provide free publicity for elected officials to assist them in greasing the wheels of future elections. These same elected officials promise a bright future but leave riders holding an empty bag