New Jersey‘s two senators and Amtrak executives announced plans yesterday for the “Gateway Project,” an alternative to the Hudson River commuter-train tunnel scrapped by Gov. Chris Christie last October.
Largely following the same footprint as the previously-proposed tunnel, the plan includes an expanded Penn Station and an additional 11 NJ Transit trains per hour – from 22 to 33 – as well as eight more Amtrak trains. The hope is to have the tunnel built within a decade.
The Wall Street Journal states that Gateway would be less beneficial to commuters than the canceled Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC, project, because its primary goal is to speed long-distance trains between New York and destinations like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The cost could be upwards of $13.5 billion, but Amtrak officials say they believe the tunnel fits in well with President Obama’s vision for infrastructure improvements in America and high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington, D.C.
Amtrak plans to ask the government to fund a $50 million study on the plan this week. Funding for the remainder of the project has yet to be determined, but it is predicted that Amtrak will fund at least part of it.
Amtrak had intended to build another tunnel to improve capacity in the nation’s most congested rail corridor, but not until 2040. In a best case scenario, this project could be completed by around 2020.
Along with the Gateway project would be a plan to raise and replace the century-old train Portal Bridge between Kearny and Secaucus over the Hackensack River.