The tri-state area is loaded with bridges, rail systems and roadways that are suffering from years of under-investment. But perhaps the biggest risk we face is with the rail tunnel linking New Jersey and New York. Built more than a century ago, the fraying tubes that carry NJ Transit and Amtrak trains are the biggest chokepoint in the Northeast, and the source of frequent delays for commuters. For years, the tunnels have needed extended repairs that are impossible to do while keeping trains running. The situation deteriorated when the tunnels flooded with salt water during Hurricane Sandy. Amtrak officials say the tubes might not last 20 years.
But building new tunnels by themselves won’t suffice. Penn Station is one of the worst transit hubs of any major metropolis, and it needs to be replaced in conjunction with the construction of new rail tunnels. As New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelmann wrote recently, “…upgraded rail service and improved public space in the form of safe, efficient and dignified transit hubs go hand in hand. They’re both environmental and social justice no-brainers.”
For more information, visit rpa.org/transhudson
–Regional Plan Association on YouTube