President Signs Legislation That Will Complete Federal Funding for Tunnel Study

Dec 3, 2002 Issues: Transportation

WASHINGTON - A key study of a cross-harbor rail freight tunnel beneath the Port of New York / New Jersey has received its final installment of Federal money, under legislation recently signed by the President.  Should this Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prove satisfactory, the tunnel, pushed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) would be cleared for preliminary engineering, design and construction funds beginning in 2003.

“In terms of cost-benefit ratio, there is no more worthwhile transportation project for New York than the tunnel,” said Rep. Nadler.  “In terms of the positive economic impact it would have on the region, it is a project that New York cannot live without.  I am pleased that it is moving ahead on schedule.”

Congress appropriated $7 million for the Cross Harbor Tunnel as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002, signed by the President just before Thanksgiving.  Although the remaining funds required to complete the EIS are estimated at $5.2 million, Congress appropriated $7 million ensuring that the study will be completed on time at no additional cost to New York City.  Any funds not used will be given back to the treasury, unless US Department of Transportation and Congress decide any remaining funds can be reprogrammed for another phase of the project.

There is virtually no way for rail freight to cross the Hudson River further south than a bridge near Albany, which is expensive, and as a result, over 95% of all goods destined for the City come in by truck.  The rail tunnel would connect New York City to the nation’s rail network, and remove over one million trucks off city streets each year.  The tunnel would significantly reduce pollution, congestion, and lower the cost of consumer goods.  Before the tunnel can be built, however, and an EIS must be completed by NYC Economic Development Corporation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The tunnel -- which has been estimated to have greater than a 2-1 benefit-to-cost ratio - has been endorsed by Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff and  Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Charles Gargano, Reps. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Christopher Shays (R-CT), as well as others in the New York delegation.

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents the 8th Congressional District (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in Congress, and serves as the only New York City Member on the Committee on Transportation.