New York City is a very crowded place, and the governor of New York wants to do something about it. Empire State governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing the state spend $5 million on a study that would examine whether a tunnel across the Long Island Sound could be financially and practically feasible in the near future. Cuomo pushed the idea as a strong possibility for an alternative to permit commuters from Long Island to bypass Manhattan.
The idea of a tunnel across Long Island Sound has been in the public domain as far back as the 1960s, but no concrete steps towards making it a reality have occurred to date.
Keep in mind that the $5 million for the new study still has to be approved by the just-set-to-convene state legislature, which is by no means a certainty. Moreover, earlier plans for a Long Island to Westchester bridge or tunnel were met with notable public opposition from local residents in both communities.
Statement from NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
“I want to do a really thorough feasibility study,” Cuomo noted in a speech at an event on Long Island earlier this week. “I think we can build a tunnel from Long Island to either the Bronx, Westchester or Connecticut. It will shave hours and hours from a commutation standpoint.”
Cuomo highlighted that the Long Island tunnel study will look at three possible destinations in the Big Apple: the Bronx, Westchester or Connecticut.
More on new Long Island tunnel proposal
On a historical note, there have been proposals for a bridge or tunnel across the Long Island Sound dating all the way back to Nelson Rockefeller and builder Robert Moses in the 1960s. Moses had been a proponent of a bridge between Oyster Bay and Rye.
As recently as 2007, a plan from Long Island developer Polimeni International to build a 16-mile-long, three-tube tunnel to Rye (projected to cost at least $10 billion) was circulated. That ambitious plan fell apart due to the Financial Crisis and the ensuing Great Recession.
In fact, it turns out that 10 bridges, tunnels or routes over the Sound have been proposed over the decades.
Don’t tell Governor Cuomo that though. When a reporter suggested the idea might be a “pipe dream” in the news conference, Cuomo responded vehemently, arguing that the state needs to “think bold” as it as it moves to improve infrastructure and traffic.
The governor even mentioned the controversial builder Robert Moses, the famous urban planner who spent a long career pushing through major infrastructure projects throughout the Big Apple
“Would you say that FDR was a pipe dream? Would you say Robert Moses was a pipe dream?” Cuomo posed rhetorically. “Was the Verrazano (bridge) a pipe dream? Was the George Washington (Bridge) a pipe dream? Was the (Long Island Expressway) a pipe dream? Was the Empire State Building a pipe dream? Was the Freedom Tower a pipe dream?”
He went on to say that: “We have to think bold. We have to think big. We can do it. We are New Yorkers — there’s nothing we can’t do.”
On a surprising note, a couple of well-known NYC environmental groups have come out in support of further study on the project, saying that a well-planned tunnel under the sound could have a minimal impact on the environment.