Officials push Amtrak to stay on track with East River Tunnel repairs

Posted: Updated:

State lawmakers are calling for a hearing to get answers on why repairs to the Superstorm Sandy-damaged East River Tunnels are being delayed seven years.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says the tunnels are in poor shape after corrosive salt water flooded two of them nearly five years ago.

Amtrak was hoping to start repairs in 2019, but those repairs will now be delayed until 2025.

The East River Tunnels are critical to transporting Long Island Rail Road commuters into Manhattan.

Stephanie Vega, of Oceanside, commutes into the city every day and says she's concerned after hearing about the repair delay.

"It's just an ongoing issue. It affects us commuters trying to get work or wherever you need to be," she says. "I just think it's something that, by now, they should have a better grasp on."

After experiencing the so-called "Summer of Hell," which wasn't as bad as expected, some commuters say they just don't want to experience any more delays. 

"Mornings, alone, are like two hours commuting and you never know if there's some sort of delay," says Elita Ernsteen, of Rockville Centre.

Kaminsky says he will continue to push Amtrak to stay on track.

"Long Island can't function unless there's a reliable, dependable and dignified way to get back and forth to the city or downtown Brooklyn," he says. "It's not just an inconvenience. It's critical."

An Amtrak spokesperson told News 12 that they aren't "in a position to comment on political issues on the weekend" and won't comment until Monday.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."