BigNews.Biz - Apr 04,2012 - Lautenberg Statement on Need for New Gateway Tunnel Under Hudson River
MTA Chairman Voices Support for Amtrak's Gateway Project
NEWARK, NJ—U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) released the following statement after Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Joe Lhota expressed his support for Amtrak's Gateway Tunnel project under the Hudson River.
“As we look at the transportation challenges ahead, Amtrak's Gateway Tunnel is the best option for New Jersey commuters and the entire region,” Lautenberg said. “We've already secured $15 million in federal funds for the Gateway project and we will continue pushing this project forward. The existing tunnel cannot keep up with commuters' needs, and we need a solution as soon as possible.”
Increased traffic and congestion into midtown Manhattan threatens the economy of northern New Jersey and the entire region. The existing 100-year-old rail tunnels into midtown Manhattan are already operating at capacity during rush hour, and ridership is expected to double in the next two decades.
To address these immediate concerns following the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel project, Amtrak expedited plans to build new trans-Hudson rail tunnels as part of the Gateway Tunnel project. In addition to increasing the number of NJ Transit and Amtrak trains into and out of New York, the Gateway project will also expand intercity and high-speed rail service on the Northeast Corridor.
The Gateway Tunnel project is expected to increase NJ Transit commuter rail capacity into New York by 65 percent (increase from 20 to 33 trains per hour during peak hours), in addition to adding eight additional Amtrak trains during peak hours.
In November 2011, Lautenberg announced $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway Tunnel project.
At a Senate hearing last month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded to a question from Senator Lautenberg about the Gateway Tunnel, saying the project “is absolutely critical” to the region.