Suozzi Rail Tunnel Faces Obstacles
By Chris O’Neill
Congressman Tom Suozzi’s (D-Glen Cove) hopes to jumpstart a $105 billion plan to build a high-speed Amtrak rail network across Long Island and a tunnel under Long Island Sound have met with quick opposition from activists in politics, academia and the media.
The proposed rail project would cut the travel time between New York and Boston by more than two hours, and would include a tunnel under Long Island Sound from Ronkonkoma to New Haven, Connecticut.
Even Liberal Newsday has noted that it “would be among the most costly public works projects in American history,” and that Republicans are hesitant to support such an expensive project.
President Joe Biden had initially proposed a $2 Trillion infrastructure bill, but has recently reduced that proposal to $1 Trillion, under pressure from Republicans and fiscally-moderate Democrats who believed the bill was too wasteful.
Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU, criticized the proposal, noting that infrastructure dollars should be spent on “things that we need, not things that are fantasies.”
Also quick to criticize was Stony Brook University Professor of Public Policy, Richard Murdocco, who labeled the project “The Foggiest Idea” and claims the plan fails to meet “…more immediate infrastructural needs.”
There have been various unsuccessful proposals in the past to link Long Island to New England by either tunnel or bridge.
In 2003 there was the plan to build a tunnel starting at Exit 68 on the LIE going under a 100,000-acre pine barrens state preserve and then under the Sound to New Haven.
Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, quipped at the time: “Some Long Island leaders are still in denial that this is an island, not a highway to New England.”