Senator Schumer Delivers Major Policy Speech at NYU Wagner

Senator Charles Schumer

Delivering a major policy speech at NYU Wagner, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York called August 11 for creating a development authority to marshal the federal funds, financing, and bipartisan political will necessary to replace the pair of deteriorating, century-old rail tunnels leading to Manhattan.

Senator Schumer warned that the two Amtrak tunnels in the Hudson River are "far too old," were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and "inevitably [are] only a few years away from being structurally unsound."

Should either tunnel be closed for repairs, it could throw the region into chaos, slow the Northeast's economy to a crawl, and possibly touch off a national recession, he said.

Replacing them could cost $20 billion to $25 billion, he estimated.

"We are fast approaching a regional transportation Armageddon: the busiest rail line in the country stranded without a way into New York," Senator Schumer said at the event, sponsored by Wagner's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.

The Senator called for a "Gateway Development Authority" with a diverse set of stakeholders to advance the project all the way from launch through completion in the coming years.

He was introduced to the near-capacity audience by Professor Mitchell Moss, Director of the Rudin Center, and William Rudin, Vice President and CEO of Rudin Mangaement Company, Inc.

The hourlong discussion and Q&A was held in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, a crossroads for policy makers at the Wagner school, located in the historic Puck Building.