Amtrak proposes $13.5-billion project
Amtrak is proposing a $13.5-billion project that will include building two commuter rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York by 2020, replacing a $9.7 billion project that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) killed.
The so-called Gateway project would allow New Jersey Transit and Amtrak to increase commuter rail capacity 65 percent by adding 13 and eight trains per hour, respectively, at peak times into New York, according to a statement today from N. J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).
The Gateway tunnels would connect to an expanded Penn Station in New York with seven additional tracks, increasing intercity and high-speed rail access in the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak's plan also calls for replacing a 100-year-old bridge and doubling the number of tracks between Newark, New Jersey, and Penn Station.
Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm called the project "a necessary part of Amtrak's vision for bringing high-speed rail to the Northeast Corridor." More than two out of every three travelers through the region passes through New York, he said.
Penn Station, used by more than 550,000 people a day, is operating at capacity and demand is expected to double in the next 20 years, according to Amtrak.
Amtrak would spend $50 million on preliminary engineering and design work and take the lead in finding other funding sources, according to the statement. Possible contributors include the states of New York and New Jersey; New York City; New Jersey Transit, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as private investors, it said.
The proposal comes months after Christie killed plans for a new tunnel to relieve travel congestion. He cited concerns about New Jersey being on the hook for any cost overruns.
The tunnel under the Hudson River would have doubled rail capacity between New Jersey and New York at a time when train service between the states is at capacity and delays are frequent.
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