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Delay in rail tunnel repair’s unwise

Amtrak train, East River Tunnel. Sept. 30 2014

Amtrak train, East River Tunnel. Sept. 30 2014 Credit: Amtrak / Chuck Gomez

Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and political leaders are all playing with fire and public safety by delaying repairs to the 100-plus-year-old East River tunnels [“Tube fixes languish,” News, Oct. 20].

I have sat on Long Island Rail Road trains stalled in these tunnels and heard what sounded like pieces of broken cement and rocks hitting the top of the train. This was before superstorm Sandy.

Amtrak and the MTA seem to wait for something to happen before they act, and these tunnels are a prime example. What are they waiting for?

William Devlin, Rockville Centre

This is bad news for both riders and taxpayers.

The Federal Transit Administration provided $432 million in June 2016 to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. These funds were intended for superstorm Sandy-related work, including to bring the East River tunnels back to a state of good repair.

Amtrak’s plans to not use these funds until 2025 do no good. As stewards of the federal dollar, the FTA should not allow this. Both the federal and MTA inspectors general should not ignore this potential waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

Larry Penner, Great Neck

Editor’s note: The writer is retired from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.