SUNNYSIDE - Crews are hard at work drilling 600 feet below ground in an effort to transform the daily commute for thousands of Long Island Rail Road riders.

By 2016, transportation officials say residents will be able to take a train directly to Grand Central Station on Manhattan's east side, potentially cutting commute times by up to 40 minutes.

Workers are using a boring machine that is 22 feet in diameter and weighs over 600 tons in order to drill the tunnel needed for the $8 billion project. Most residents are happy with the tunnel and the jobs it has created, but some elected officials are worried about funding amid recent budget woes.

The project is endorsed by the Long Island Contractor's Association and the Long Island Association.