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Effort To Connect Nassau, Westchester Counties With Bridge Or Tunnel Met With Opposition

TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – New York's tunnel vision for Long Island Sound is an old idea that's facing new opposition.

A campaign was rolled out Wednesday to stop a tunnel or bridge that would connect Nassau and Westchester counties.

Route 135 up Long Island's midsection reaches a dead end in Syosset. For decades, opposition has killed the notion of extending the route across the Long Island Sound. But drivers can dream.

"It doesn't make any sense that someone from the South Shore or Suffolk County has to drive all the way to Queens, through the Bronx, to get up to New England," one man said.

"An hour drive can turn into two hours just from traffic," said a woman.

Now, the bridge or tunnel idea is back, but so is opposition from a new bipartisan coalition against what it calls an "unsound crossing."

"Honestly, in my life as a New Yorker, I've never heard one person bring it up and say, 'darn, we need this.' People don't want it, it's not needed," said Peter Janow, of the Coalition Against an Unsound Crossing.

Civic and elected leaders say they've learned the governor's office is focusing on a so-called "Western Alignment" option, a tunnel from Oyster Bay to Rye. They warn it will bring the loss of homes, construction traffic and massive air vents.

A state feasibility study drafted the path under Long Island's Gold Coast.

"I think the pollution from the ventilation towers is our biggest concern, as well as the risk of drilling through our aquifer system," Bayville resident Jen Jones said.

After 80 years of talk, the governor endorsed the idea in his State of the State address.

"Money has been expended on a feasibility study, so that was next step. And now if someone doesn't oppose it and the group doesn't come together, he's going to have his way on this, and this is going to be altering Long Island forever," said Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Leiberman.

Cuomo, however, told CBS2 there is no specific plan – just options being studied.

The projected cost of a tunnel is $55 billion. Opponents say the money would be better spent improving the infrastructure they have already invested in.

The state spend $5 million on the feasibility study of the cross-Sound bridge or tunnel.

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