Agreement will see US$432m to repair East River Tunnels

16 December 2021

In a deal brokered by New York Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat), MTA and rail provider Amtrak have reached a deal that will see urgently-needed repairs carried out on the crucial East River Tunnels connecting Manhattan with Long Island.

The breakthrough follows a long-standing disagreement over which of the two agencies should pay for fixing the tunnels which were badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Schumer said the agreement was facilitated by the recent passing of the US$1.2tr infrastructure bill which will see local transportation projects that had been stalled for years now benefit from funding.

The New York Times reported that Amtrak will allocate US$500m of infrastructure bill funding toward the US$2.87bn Penn Station Access Project which will include upgrading Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor metro route services north of Manhattan, including the construction of four new metro stations in the Bronx; and also improving LIRR rail services into Long Island. Both services pass through the East River Tunnels.

In return for Amtrak’s commitment, MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) says it will spend up to US$432m to repair the tunnels.