- Published: 13 April 2017
- Written by John Bobsin
The widely ballyhooed Gateway project to rebuild and expand New York's Penn Station is just a "Gateway to megadebt," according to an opinion piece by Paul Mulshine in the Star-Ledger (April 13). Mulshine took a walking tour of midtown Manhattan with retired Long Island Rail Road executive (and Lackawanna Coalition member) Joe Clift, and said he learned that the problem with Gateway, as well as its predecessor Access to the Region's Core (ARC) is pork -- political pork barrel, not the kind served at Brother Jimmy's BBQ, a Manhattan restaurant that is located on a Manhattan city block that would have to be razed -- all 64 real estate parcels -- if the full Gateway expansion were to happen. We need tunnels, but the tunnels are only a small part of the total expenditure for Gateway, $24 billion and likely to increase, say Mulshine and Clift, once the project attempts to acquire those parcels. What we need to do is to go back to the original 1995 tunnel plan before ARC got politicized and trimmed down to a deep-cavern station 180 feet deep near Macy's. And the original plan would have gone beyond Penn Station with tunnels to Grand Central Terminal, an underutilized facility on the East Side of Manhattan -- where many commuters want to go. Where will the money come from for Gateway? Recent developments in Washington show that the Feds are backing away from their commitment to all new transit projects, including Gateway; and as for New Jersey's half of the project, "we're broke," Mulshine writes. A third, single-track tunnel would only cost "a couple billion bucks," said Clift, and would provide an alternative for train traffic while the crumbling, hundred-year-old tunnels can be rehabbed. Later could come a fourth tunnel and maybe that connection to Grand Central. "Or," Mulshine writes, "we could just keep loading up the Gateway project with pork and hope The Donald sends a big check . . . that could happen . . . but pigs will fly before it does."