The past couple of years have seen a flood of bad news for efforts to better integrate New York City's rail hubs with regional commuters and intercity passengers. A year and a half ago, Chris Christie, the newly elected governor of New Jersey, terminated plans to build a desperately needed second rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River. Now comes news that the East Side Access project, which tunnels underneath the East River, is facing a new round of delays and rising cost estimates, reports Colin Moynihan.
"Creating a Long Island Rail Road link to the East Side of Manhattan will take six years longer to accomplish than originally expected and will cost nearly $2 billion more than the initial estimate, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Monday."
"The new completion date for the project is August 2019, and officials put the cost at $8.24 billion, up from an estimate of $6.3 billion in 2006. The 2006 estimate came after $2.6 billion in federal financing for the ambitious project was announced, and transportation officials said then that they thought the project would be finished by the end of 2013."
Authorities blamed technical challenges and complication from unrelated projects for the delays.
"The East Side Access project requires the construction of new tunnels, which will be dug beneath the existing tracks in Sunnyside and then emerge nearby. Authority officials said the profusion of existing railroad equipment in that area and the sandy soil beneath the network of tracks had slowed the project."