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Tunnel-building in Switzerland

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Tunnel-building in Switzerland"

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For better or for worse, they have a can-do spirit that New Jersey lacks:

The expected completion Friday of the 57-kilometer (35.4-mile) Gotthard Base rail tunnel is being hailed as an environmental triumph as much as an unprecedented engineering feat.

The $10 billion tube bores through the Gotthard massif, including the 8200-foot (2,500-meter) Piz Vatgira, along the route to Italy. It’s part of a larger project to shift the haulage of goods from roads to rails, spurred mainly by a concern that heavy trucks were destroying Switzerland’s pristine Alpine landscape.

Compared to New Jersey, where unless population growth simply ceases altogether people are going to need more routes into Manhattan, practical economic upside here seems relatively low (“it will only shave one hour off the time trains travel between northern Europe and Italy”) though I can’t speak to the aesthetic and ecological issues at stake.

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