A Tale of Two Tunnels.
I know there are those who don’t like it when I criticize Donald Trump and his administration. When I have done so in the past, I do believe that my criticisms have been on the merits of whatever issue it was and not because of my loathing for our president.
But he’s really gone and done it this time by pressuring Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans in Congress to withhold federal dollars from the Gateway Project—the plan to construct two new tunnels beneath the Hudson River for rail traffic connecting New York City with New Jersey and points south.
The existing tunnels are more than 100 years old and surely . . . surely! . . . as a businessman and as a New Yorker, Trump knows that a severe natural disaster could cause those tunnels to become unusable. In fact, Hurricane Sandy came very close to doing exactly that six years ago.
As many as 400 New Jersey Transit trains take thousands of commuters into the city and bring them back home through those tunnels every day. Dozens of Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains take business people to and from Philadelphia and Washington. Other Amtrak trains originating in New York carry people to hundreds of destinations all down the East Coast as far as Tampa and Miami. Still more Amtrak trains pass through those tunnels en route to Atlanta and New Orleans, or west to Cincinnati and Indianapolis and Chicago.
Should the existing tunnels fail, the loss to the regional economy has been computed by some smart people using really smart computers: one hundred million dollars a day!
Here’s one more relevant item to consider: best estimates are that it will take six years to finish the new tunnels once the project is approved. How’s that for a truly frightening scenario: one hundred million dollars X five days a week X 52 weeks X six years.
Do the damn math, Mr. President!