The Sound Tunnel in the Times
The promoters say it would save time, and with up to 80,000 cars not stuck idling in gridlocked traffic, it would reduce fuel consumption by more than 24 million gallons a year and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 235 tons per day. It’s safe to assume that those numbers will not go unscrubbed. And there’s always the rejoinder that if the ride is that simple, maybe it will simply produce more cars and more pollution. …
The review process should ask that and more — nuts and bolts ones on the impact of the project on existing roads and highways and big picture ones about whether it’s needed (why not more ferries?), whether the price is right ($25 tolls?) and whether an all-auto project of this magnitude makes any sense. Don’t expect it to happen without a rail component as well….
Here are two other issues. The first is whether the civic technology for killing projects is so much more refined than the technology for building them that you can’t attempt a project like this anywhere near high-dollar neighborhoods in the Northeast. The second is whether the cooperation between city and suburb is so flaccid that there just isn’t the political will to get this done, whatever its merits.
If it’s a lousy idea, it’s hopeless. If it actually makes sense, economically and environmentally, the question is whether the handful of people who really matter in Manhattan, Albany, Nassau and White Plains think this is worth investing political capital on.
The early reaction will be worth watching. Either this dies a quick death or we’re at the beginning of a process that will make the seemingly endless rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge look like an impulse purchase at the mall.
Labels: Sound tunnel