Friday, September 28, 2012

"Schumer vows to jump-start tunnel project"

Crains article today by Andrew J. Hawkins titled "Schumer vows to jump-start tunnel project" discussed how New York senator Schumer declared that ground could be broken on Amtrak's proposed tunnel under the Hudson River as soon as next year.

Some relevant points from the article:

Amtrak's Gateway Tunnel project to link New York and New Jersey plan to construct a third rail line under the Hudson River could break ground as early as the end of 2013 according to Schumer.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) project, which was to include a train tunnel under the Hudson. The Gateway project was unveiled in February 2011Christie axed ARC.  Congress approved an initial $15 million for Gateway in November 2011 and Mr. Schumer said an additional $20 million was close to being secured. The total project is expected to cost $13-$15 billion and will not be completed before 2020.

The two rail tunnels that connect New Jersey and New York and both are more than 100 years old.

A new urgency has been brought to the project, Mr. Schumer said, since Amtrak's engineers determined that the best place to construct Gateway was directly under the Hudson Yards development on Manhattan's West Side. The Related Companies is expected to break ground on the massive, mixed-use project late this year potentially complicating Gateway if it does not start soon.

The Gateway project would expand capacity from two to four rail lines between New Jersey and midtown NYC, build new tracks and platforms at Penn Station and improve electrical connections. The new rail lines would relieve what is considered the worst transit bottleneck in the country, boosting commuter capacity on New Jersey Transit by 75%. Gateway would also allow Amtrak to expand its high-speed Acela service, which is necessary for the development of state-supported high speed rail in New York.

Rail service needs to expand along the NEC and this new tunnel needs to get done to ensure continued economic growth. I'm hoping work picks up as Schumer describes.


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