ICYMI: NJ, NY Senators Pen New York Times Op-Ed: Think New York Transit Is Bad? Just Wait U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) penned the following op-ed which appeared in the New York Times along with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-N.Y.).
BigNews.Biz - Apr 13,2017 - ICYMI: NJ, NY Senators Pen New York Times Op-Ed: Think New York Transit Is Bad? Just Wait
NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) penned the following op-ed which appeared in the New York Times along with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-N.Y.).
Menendez is a senior member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. Booker is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. View the op-ed online here.
Commuters at a crowded PATH train station the day after a New Jersey Transit train derailment this month at Penn Station in New York. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times
In the past few weeks, commuters in New York and New Jersey have been dealing with the chaos caused by the derailments of an Amtrak train and a New Jersey Transit train in New York’s Penn Station. While the accidents themselves were minor, by closing down tracks, they provided a stark preview for what life could soon be like if we don’t follow through with critical investments to improve our infrastructure.
Alarmingly, if we don’t act soon to repair the two tunnels under the Hudson River, that same reduction in service our region experienced last week will become a permanent reality.
The current tunnels under the Hudson River were built in 1908 and are rapidly deteriorating. This problem was exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy, which filled the tunnels with corrosive salt water, and engineers now estimate that without major overhauls the tunnels are likely to fail within the next 10 years. The closing of either tunnel would be devastating because it would essentially shut down the Northeast Corridor, the transit route from Boston to Washington that produces over $3 trillion in economic output — a full 20 percent of the national gross domestic product.
Over the last year and a half Amtrak, along with New York and New Jersey, has been advancing a project called Gateway that would address this impending crisis. Gateway would update and increase the number of tracks at Penn Station and build a new tunnel under the Hudson River. That new tunnel would allow the existing tunnels to be closed and repaired, and after the completion of both projects, train service into New York would be doubled.
Last year the federal government, along with New York and New Jersey, agreed to split the cost of Gateway evenly, and engineering and permitting are now underway; construction on the next phase was set to begin later this year. But in his budget proposal, President Trump proposed slashing the two funding sources — federal transit dollars and Amtrak — that are the key to building Gateway and the new tunnel.
Time is running out to replace the existing crumbling tunnels, and our region cannot afford setbacks to this project like the one President