NJ congressional delegation gets up close view of crumbling rail tunnel, makes federal funding push

New Jersey leaders are putting pressure on the federal government to fund a new way for commuters to get into New York City. The existing rail tunnels into the city are crumbling.

“It’s pretty alarming to say the least,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

This has caused countless train delays and cancellations, as crews work overnight to make repairs. About 200,000 commuters ride through the aging North River Tunnel daily.

“We all go through that tunnel. We’re on a train, then it’s dark, then arrive. We don’t actually see as commuters, but when you see it with the lights on, you see the corrosion, the concrete cracking,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski “We’re racing against time.”

Built in 1910, the existing rail tunnel is long overdue to be replaced. New York and New Jersey have committed funding to build a new tunnel under the Hudson, known as the Gateway Project.

“The Gateway tunnel will get built one of two ways,” said Murphy. “One way, we plan for it. Two, there is a disaster and we have no other choice.”

Superstorm Sandy did immense damage to the existing tunnel. Engineers say it’s safe for now - but could another storm force a collapse?

“That’s an impossible hypothetical to answer,” said Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia. “The tunnel is definitely under tremendous pressure.”

The Gateway project expected cost $30 billion. Local leaders want the federal government to fund half of that.

“It is literally shovel ready,” said the Governor. “The delays, the breakdowns, the old infrastructure - we’ve got to get at this.”

There have been meetings but no public funding commitments thus far from the federal government.

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