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The EditorsMarch 23, 2018
(Photo: Redd Angelo/Unsplash) (Photo: Redd Angelo/Unsplash) 

A new rail tunnel between New York City and New Jersey is once again in jeopardy. Chris Christie, who had hoped to run for president as a fiscal conservative, killed the project in 2010 when he was governor of New Jersey. Now President Trump is reportedly trying to block federal spending on the $30 billion tunnel, which is needed to replace two passageways that are more than a century old and damaged by flooding.

Local responsibility is preferable in many areas of public policy, but ensuring reliable long-distance transportation is not one of them.

Mr. Trump campaigned as uniquely qualified to improve the infrastructure of the United States, but he has so far made little discernible progress in this area, and the recent deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami only reminds us of the possible costs of not taking this issue seriously. His administration’s infrastructure plan, released in February, includes only $200 billion in federal spending, with $1.3 trillion assigned to state and local governments, plus private investors. This ratio does not recognize the importance to the national economy of reliably conveying goods and passengers across state lines. A third rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey is not a local project. It will help connect the nation’s largest metropolitan area to several other major cities, including the capital of the United States.

Local responsibility is preferable in many areas of public policy, but ensuring reliable long-distance transportation is not one of them.

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JR Cosgrove
6 years 2 months ago

The proposed tunnel is a local project. Nearly all the commuters are working in the New York, New Jersey area. I say this as a resident of the New York City metropolitan area and one who uses the bridge and tunnel system of the MTA.

New York City has an atrocious record of financial responsibility in public building projects.

This would be a perfect opportunity for a private building of the tunnels as everyone and every product that uses the tunnel will pay a toll to do so in terms of ticket prices or shipping rates on the rail cars. It would ensure an organization that would keep cost in line as they will be paying for it and reducing any profits that may accumulate. Public administration of the building just leads to enormous cost overruns as they have no incentive to do it economically.

Looks like the editors will get their wish as the budget today contained lots of pork.

Chuck Kotlarz
6 years 2 months ago

I may never use the New York – New Jersey rail tunnel and perhaps never even see it. If some portion of my federal income taxes pays for it, that’s fine.

The population of the five largest U.S. cities totals six percent of the U.S. population, but contributes twenty percent of U.S. GDP. Federal funds for the New York – New Jersey rail tunnel should be a no brainer. Go for it!

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