Tunnel Vision

When superstorm Sandy hit New York City in October 2012, the decision had to be made to allow Amtrak's railroad tunnels running under the Hudson River to flood, in order to save Penn Station from the floodwaters. As a result, this vital section of rail infrastructure served as a stormwater drain for Manhattan; and while it took only five days to clear the tunnels of seawater and reopen the route to traffic, chlorides and sulfides from the salt left behind caused irreversible chemical reactions with the concrete, cast iron and steel inside the tunnel, setting in motion deterioration which could only be fixed be replacing the damaged walls and tracks. The governors of New York and New Jersey were spurred on by this event to support a massive proposal known as the Gateway Program, which would add tunnels, replace outdated bridges, and expand the overcrowded Penn Station. However, at a cost of up to $30 billion, this would be one of the most expensive infrastructure ventures in U.S. history, and coming up with the funding for it is proving difficult. This article discusses the history of this crucial transportation hub, in terms of its planning, construction, and maintenance, as well as funding sources over the years, and it concludes by emphasizing the need to commence work on this infrastructure project immediately.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 52-57
  • Serial:
    • Governing
    • Volume: 31
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: e.Republic Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0894-3842

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01662631
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 5 2018 9:03AM