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Reports US

US stock market daily report (April 29, 2014, Tuesday)

April 30, 2014, Wednesday, 04:32 GMT | 23:32 EST | 08:02 IST | 10:32 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

The state of New York is working on building a flood-resistant access tunnel, desperately needed in the wake of flooding of tunnels from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The construction is on Manhattan's West Side, with a $185 million federally funded price tag. Finalization of the future tunnels is expected to cost into the billions and its future remains unclear. Amtrak is working with $45 million in federal money it is receiving over three years for planning and pre-construction work for future tunnels.

The new tunnel is expected to be completed in fall 2015, if the funds needed, materialize. The tunnel is a work in progress consisting of an 800-foot-long, 35-foot-deep concrete trench. The tunnel, once built, could someday lead to two new commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River to New Jersey. The 250,000 plus people who use Penn Station every day to ride NJ Transit and Amtrak could experience huge delays if there is any type of glitch in the tunnels.

Hudson Yards is under development with the construction of six skyscrapers, with the tallest being 80 stories tall. The trench had to be dug before the buildings because attempting to dig through the bedrock after the buildings are completed, would be an engineering and financial nightmare, per officials.

The two tunnels between New York's Penn Station and Newark, New Jersey are unable to accommodate any more trains, opened in 1910 and were flooded by Sandy. Craig Schulz, spokesman for Amtrak said, "There's an urgent need to expand capacity between New York and New Jersey." Amtrak trains serve the Northeast corridor between Washington and Boston are frequently packed to capacity, with ridership growing.

Among lawmakers who pushed Congress to approve Superstorm Sandy relief money for the planned flood-resistant access tunnel was New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer. The move was referred to as mitigation to protect infrastructure from future storms. Schumer argued that the trench had to be built now because the skyscraper developers could not be delayed indefinitely. Referencing The Related Cos., the main Hudson Yards developers Schumer said, "We asked them to delay months, but if we asked them to delay years, they may have said no. Sandy relief funding was there, available, the criteria fit, and the money was getting through quickly and fit the timetable."

Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University said, "Sen. Schumer has made a wise and timely investment in obtaining federal funds to support a new concrete trench for future tunnels." Moss said the need for new rail tunnels under the Hudson must be built and it's important to build the access tunnel now.