- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New rail tunnels under the Hudson River are needed to reduce delays, but the expensive project won’t work without a greater financial commitment from the federal government, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor said Washington’s proposal to cover $3 billion of the estimated $14 billion tunnel project isn’t enough. He and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are expected to meet soon with federal officials to discuss funding for the stalled plan, which comes after a series of delays that underscored the age and condition of the area’s transportation infrastructure.

“Everyone agrees that we need the tunnels,” Cuomo said on public radio’s “Capitol Pressroom.” ”If the federal government can make a significant contribution, than let’s go. We have the shovels. We need it. We’ll make it a priority. But we need to fund it.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote to Cuomo and Christie on Monday calling for a meeting to discuss the tunnel project after trains into Manhattan were repeatedly delayed because of congestion and problems with electrical lines.

On Wednesday, Christie told reporters in New Hampshire, where he is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had sent a letter to federal officials agreeing to a meeting. A date for the gathering has not been announced.

The Port Authority, which Christie and Cuomo jointly oversee, has said it will share in the cost of building a new tunnel, as it did for a rail tunnel project that Christie killed in 2010 over concerns about cost overruns.

The two tunnels under the Hudson River were built more than a century ago and the power cables are 80 years old, according to Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. Amtrak owns most of the tracks and equipment, most of which is several decades old.

Electrical problems or disabled trains in the tunnels caused delays for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak travelers four days last week and again Monday.

Christie canceled a tunnel project in 2010 over concerns that New Jersey would be responsible for cost overruns. He said last week if he’s elected president he’ll get a new tunnel built if the states and the federal government are equal partners.

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Associated Press writer Dave Porter contributed to this report from Newark, New Jersey.


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