Amtrak proposes new Hudson River tunnels
Amtrak has proposed a plan to build two new tunnels under the Hudson River linking New Jersey and New York City.
The tunnel project would also include replacement and expansion of the 100-year-old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey between Kearny and Secaucus.
Amtrak President Joseph Boardman proposes investing $50 million to begin preliminary engineering and design studies for what will be called the Gateway Project.
To complete the project by 2020 would require a budget of $13.5 billion. Amtrak said it will take the lead in developing funding, which could come from federal, state, regional, local and private sources.
If constructed, the two new tunnels would substantially boost Amtrak and New Jersey Transit commuter train peak-period capacity into and out of New York City.
The existing 100-year-old rail tunnels into midtown Manhattan operate at capacity during rush hour, and ridership is projected to double over the next two decades, according to transportation studies.
The project has the backing of New Jersey Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“The Gateway Project is essential to the future growth and economic development of the entire Northeast region and will provide for greater capacity, connectivity and convenience for Amtrak and commuter passengers in the heart of Manhattan,” Boardman said. “It is a critical first step that we can take now to bring 220 mph Amtrak high-speed service to the Northeast Corridor.”
The new plan follows cancellation late in 2010 by New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie of a somewhat similar tunnel project. Christie, who called the project too expensive for New Jersey taxpayers, returned federal stimulus funds that were to assist with the project.
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