The Staten Island borough president wishes a water siphon were a subway tunnel

Strickland, Molinaro, Bloomberg and Foye (Dana Rubinstein)
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At a ribbon-cutting for a new water siphon to Staten Island, Borough President James Molinaro said he wished the event were celebrating something else.

"I was told that they were going to be boring for a train from Staten Island to Brooklyn," said Molinaro, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced him at a construction site on New York Harbor. "But I found out this morning, it’s not, it’s just for water."

“I’m a little sad it’s not a subway tunnel, but that’s OK," Molinaro added, before returning the floor to the mayor, who then explained what the borough president was talking about.

"For those of you who don't know, there was actually was a subway started, and there’s actually a hole, and they started building a subway from Staten Island over to Brooklyn, to connect there," said the mayor. "And it was stopped and the was money repurposed, I’m told for the Verrazano Bridge. Is that correct? That was a decision that was made a long time ago." 

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The real purpose of the press conference was to "launch" a $250 million project that will replace two relatively shallow water transmission mains to Staten Island with a new one that's buried 100 feet underground. The removal of the existing water mains will allow for the dredging of the bay's Anchorage Channel, between Staten Island and Brooklyn, and that, in turn will allow the ports that line the bay to accomodate the huge new container ships that will be making their way through the Panama Canal, once its expansion is completed in 2014.

The Port Authority and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection are splitting the cost of the $250 million water main project, and the Port's executive director, Patrick Foye, joined D.E.P.'s crutch-bound commissioner, Carter Strickland, and the Economic Development Corporation's Seth Pinsky at the event on Wednesday morning.