Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Momentum for a Trans-Hudson Rail Tunnel

The article "New Momentum for a Trans-Hudson Rail Tunnel" on the Regional Plan Association's website comments that "expanding rail capacity in and out of New York City is vitally important". "Amtrak's Gateway project calls for building two new rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River. The new tracks would reduce severe congestion and service problems for NJ Transit and Amtrak riders ... along the entire the Northeast Corridor."

New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson has expressed support for Amtrak's Gateway project. Joe Lhota, head of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has stated that expanding trans-Hudson capacity is a "crucial issue for the MTA as well." Lhota has further stated that "transit bottlenecks hurt New York businesses, whose employees are often commuting from [outside NYC]. If transit capacity is not expanded [we] will choke the economy."

The plans for Amtrak Gateway are preliminary but it calls for carrying trains into Manhattan emerging at Penn Station and eventually Amtrak's new New York base, Moynihan Station (a proposed Moynihan Penn Station). Impact for commuters in terms of time savings is reviewed here albeit this is for NJT only. All NEC commuters/travelers, even those commuting from Philadelphia, to or from NYC will experience shorter commute times if Amtrak Gateway is completed.

Since Chris Christie killed ARC Amtrak's Gateway project appears to be the only viable plan at the moment to expand rail capacity along the NEC. The challenge will be to come up with the funding for the Gateway project that Amtrak estimates would cost $15 billion and take 10 years to complete.

Details of the major pieces of the Amtrak Gateway project are noted on the map below:


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