February 9, 2005
NYC tunnel proposals vie for center stage
You won't find it among the passenger rail programs administered by the U.S. DOT, but the Bush Administration's new budget offers $2 billion to help build a direct rail connection between Lower Manhattan and JFK International Airport. This delivers on a pledge President Bush made last summer in response to a personal appeal from New York Gov. George E. Pataki. The costliest component of the $6 billion project would be a new tunnel under the East River. Pataki asked for $2 billion in the form of unused tax credits granted to the city as part of a $20 billion federal program to help revitalize the district hit by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
New Jersey also wants a new tunnel into New York, but under a different river-the Hudson. This would be a $5 billion project. Two days after the offer of aid for the East River tunnel surfaced, NJ Transit released a study demonstrating the benefits that it claimed would accrue to the region by building a new commuter rail tunnel between New Jersey and a new station in Midtown Manhattan at 34th St. Economic Research Associates conducted the study for NJ Transit.