Thursday, January 15, 2009

2nd Hudson Rail Tunnel Clears Key Federal Hurdle

The New York Times is reporting that the prospects for a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River to Penn Station received a major boost when federal authorities approved an environmental assessment for a $9 billion tunnel planned by New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority. President-elect Barack Obama has said he is committed to spending billions of dollars on large infrastructure projects to revive the economy.

The tunnel proposed in the ARC project (Access to the Region's Core) would more than double the number of trains that can travel under the Hudson between New York and New Jersey to 48 per hour (at 23 now). The main ARC construction projects include a new two-track Trans-Hudson Express (THE) Tunnel and a deep, six-track terminal 175 feet below 34th Street as an annex to Penn Station. ARC would also allow more New Jersey Transit riders to reach New York without having to change trains in Newark or Secaucus. The project's six new tracks in Manhattan, which would terminate beneath 34th Street, would also allow commuters to connect underground to the subways and PATH trains at the Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave). This second tunnel would also relieve pressure on the century-old tunnel that New Jersey Transit shares with Amtrak allowing more Amtrak trains to be scheduled to enter/exit NYC, a benefit to commuters who use Amtrak.


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