NEW YORK | Penn Station Expansion/Improvements

Improvements/upgrades to Penn. Station all in one thread. There have been talks about building a new tunnel and sending Metro-North trains to Penn. Station.

Penn Station Access Study

Penn Station Access Study Update

MTA Metro-North Railroad (Metro-North) has been preparing environmental analyses to examine the potential benefits and impacts associated with providing additional regional rail service within the New York Metropolitan Area from Metro-North’s east-of-Hudson service territory to Penn Station, New York, and the west side of Manhattan. Proposed Penn Station Access service would be provided primarily by using existing infrastructure, with some capital improvements. As part of the effort, six (6) new intermediate stations would be constructed: two (2) on the West Side of Manhattan and four (4) in the East Bronx.

The environmental analyses are being performed pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. The original intent of the analysis was to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Based on analyses performed to date, Metro-North is currently developing an Environmental Assessment (EA) as part of a streamlined, yet detailed environmental review process that will be performed in conformance with NEPA requirements.

In a parallel effort, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Metro-North’s parent agency, is co-sponsoring a study of future rail operations in Penn Station with its operating agencies (Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road), Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The results of that study will provide input to the Penn Station Access environmental review.

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Outer boro transit dreams: A wishlist of service improvements

By Dan Rivoli on September 14, 2014!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/feature_730/image.JPG


The prospects of a long-studied plan to bring Metro-North into Penn Station were improved following Superstorm Sandy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January blessed the project as a way to keep Metro-North trains running in case a future storm or accident knocks out the commuter rail’s sole link into Manhattan.

But the $1 billion project will also give residents in transit-starved east Bronx neighborhoods a faster way into Manhattan’s commercial district, with four new Metro-North stations proposed along the New Haven line in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point. There are 160,000 Bronx residents living within a mile of each proposed stop, according to Bronx officials. Placing a stop in Co-op City – the northernmost location – would cut a trip to Penn Station to under 40 minutes from an hour and a half.

“It’s a game changer for people who need to find a new place to live and for those that already live in the Bronx that would love a better commute to their jobs or their destinations in Manhattan,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.

The state is expecting to find out this fall if federal transit officials approve money to get Metro-North trains into Penn Station in case of emergency.

The MTA declined to say if any money for the new stations would be in their next capital plan for transit improvements, but Bronxites must nonetheless wait for Metro-North service until Long Island Rail Road trains can enter Grand Central Terminal to make room at Penn Station, a project slated to be finished by 2023.


This would be an awesome project. Now, they just need better service to LaGuardia. 2023 seems like a reasonable time table. Usually projects involving rail take many decades. What I’d like to see is an overhaul of Newark Penn. It has the historic background, but it dearly needs a major renovation, especially the platforms. Track 5 is undergoing work, but I’d like to see the other tracks get an overhaul, not just a platform extension.


Repairs to Tunnels Damaged by Sandy Could Snarl Trains

Passengers on LIRR, NJ Transit and Amtrak Face Fewer, More Crowded Rides as Tunnels Undergo Major Repairs

By Andrew Tangel on October 1, 2014

Passengers on the Long Island Rail Road, NJ Transit and Amtrak face fewer and more crowded trains in coming years as tunnels beneath the Hudson and East rivers undergo major repairs.

Amtrak officials said riders are in for even worse headaches if new Hudson River tunnels aren’t built and further deterioration forces a shutdown of one of the two currently beneath the river.

The warnings came Wednesday as the railroad released an outside engineering firm’s report outlining damage to the underwater tubes caused by superstorm Sandy two years ago.

Amtrak has been chipping away at repairs, shutting down tunnels over weekends. And while officials said the tunnels remain safe, saltwater that flooded the tunnels continues to damage their concrete lining, embedded steel, track and electrical systems at a crucial link along the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston.

“Left unattended, these tunnels will be less reliable and they will provide less service over time,” said Stephen Gardner, an Amtrak official who oversees infrastructure and investment development.

The Amtrak report estimates tunnel repair costs at $689 million, which officials said they expected to be covered by insurance.

Officials highlighted what they and transportation experts said was the need to add tunnels underneath the Hudson. But they didn’t offer a firm timeline for Sandy repair work, saying only that the first East River tunnel might see work start in more than a year.

Timing for work on the Hudson tunnels was less clear. Mr. Gardner said Amtrak would soon begin preliminary engineering and environmental permitting for new tunnels as part of its stalled Gateway project.

Even if the railroad had secured funding for building new tunnels, which it hasn’t, Mr. Gardner said they wouldn’t be open until perhaps the “middle of the next decade.”

Transportation experts have long called for adding Hudson tunnels as New York City-area commuter ridership grows and is expected to further strain the region’s rail infrastructure in coming decades.

Without new Hudson tunnels and one of two current ones shut down, that “nightmare scenario” would lead to overcrowded and delayed trains between New York and New Jersey as commuter-rail capacity between the states drops 75%, said Dan Schned, senior transportation planner for the Regional Plan Association.

Many commuters would be forced onto roads and bridges and into the PATH train system between the states, he added.

“It would really be a catastrophe for the regional economy,” Mr. Schned said.

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Anybody whos ridden NJ Transit knowns that delays and crowded trains are the signs of a healthy train. Rode it for 4 years, and averaged about 3 delays per week. On a good week, 5 or so. This will probably take forever, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It took 3 years to build the Somerville station, which is very small. Track 5 still is being fixed (Newark Penn), going on 2 years. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not China when it comes to trains as they build whole systems in just a few years. :frowning:


An older article of a section of the new tunnel getting built …

Fed money keeps rail tunnel alive

By Steve Cuozzo on February 26, 2013 | 5:00am

Related Cos. and Amtrak have agreed to build the first link of what’s hoped will eventually be a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan.

In a breakthrough promoted by Sen. Chuck Schumer, work is to start this summer on a Washington-funded, 800-foot-long “box tunnel” right under Related’s Hudson Yards site, where construction has begun on a 900-foot office tower that will be home to Coach, Inc.

Schumer hailed the agreement as “a red-letter day for the future of New York-New Jersey mass transit.” He told The Post, “It means the federal government is finally committed for the first time since ARC was killed to building a new tunnel.”

ARC was the four-track project that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie axed in 2010 over a cost estimated as high as $15 billion, which would have been largely paid for by the Port Authority.

No firm estimate for Amtrak’s proposed two-track Gateway project was immediately available, but the railroad expects the cost to be mostly borne by the feds.

The box tunnel will not be designed to carry trains immediately, but will serve as a shell for the Manhattan end of the Gateway tunnel Amtrak hopes to build later.

The box will hold the space for a rail link between the future Hudson tunnel and existing tracks at Penn Station — and for the proposed Moynihan Station if it’s ever built.

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Amtrak breaks ground on possible future Gateway path

By Benjamin Kabak on September 24, 2013

With Sandy money flowing New York City’s way, Senator Chuck Schumer was able to wrangle enough dollars earlier this year to launch part of the Gateway Tunnel. Specifically, the state’s senior senator secured the $185 million needed to preserve Gateway’s right-of-way under the Hudson Yards development under the rubric of flood prevention. Yesterday, officials gathered to celebrate the ground-breaking of this monumental concrete box that may, years and billions of dollars in the future, host a new trans-Hudson train tunnel for Amtrak.

“The value of the work on this concrete casing cannot be underestimated as it preserves a possible pathway for new tunnels designed to increase the reliability and capacity for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit’s operations and will step up the resiliency of the rail system against severe weather events like Super Storm Sandy,” Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia said.

This current construction effort is a two-year project to build a casing between 10th and 11th Avenues in order to save what Amtrak called a “possible right-of-way” for two new tunnels into Penn Station. It is slated to be completed in October of 2015. When or if Gateway and the corresponding Moynihan Station plan will ever see the light of day remains to be seen.

Interestingly, the Sandy part of this picture could spur Amtrak and the feds to action though. As the rail agency detailed in its press release, the storm surge from Sandy flooded four of the six tunnels under the Hudson and East Rivers. This is the first time in their 103-year history that the tunnels were inundated, and nearly 600,000 daily riders on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit saw their commutes disrupted. The casing, wide enough for a two-track train tunnel, will be flood-proof, though Amtrak’s materials do not explain how.

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Some question whether NYC to Newark Airport PATH train is best use of funds

NJ Spotlight on October 27, 2014

The Port Authority’s capital plan for the next 10 years includes no money to build the critically needed Gateway rail tunnels or upgrade or replace the overcrowded Port Authority Bus Terminal, but it does include $1.5 billion to provide Manhattan residents with a low-cost, one-seat ride on a new PATH line to Newark Airport.

To New Jersey mass-transit advocates, the controversial PATH extension is not only a case of misplaced priorities in an era of scarce funding, but also is emblematic of how political deal-making took precedence over policy needs for too long at the Port Authority, which is the subject of at least six separate federal and state investigations.

It was Gov. Chris Christie who pushed Port Authority commissioners 20 months ago to make sure its $27.6 billion capital plan for the next decade included the $1.5 billion PATH extension that United Airlines wanted to carry passengers and workers to its Newark Airport hub. United, which employs 13,000 workers in the region and carries 24 million of the 35 million passengers who fly in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport each year, would be the biggest beneficiary of the PATH extension, a five-year project on which construction is scheduled to begin in 2018.

United repaid the favor to Christie by agreeing to provide flights to Atlantic City Airport – which Christie convinced the Port Authority to take over – as part of the his administration’s master plan to bring national convention business to the resort’s casinos, an effort that was undercut by the closure of four of the city’s 12 casinos this year.

“I’m just not sure that a PATH extension to Newark Airport should take priority over other needs, given the transportation funding crisis that we are facing,” Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said last week. “You can get on a train in Manhattan and get to Newark Airport now. We have other much more pressing needs to which that $1.5 billion could be devoted.”

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Penn Station boosters suggest site for new Madison Square Garden

The Municipal Art Society of New York and the Regional Plan Association thinks the a U.S. Postal Service annex near Hudson Yards would be a good spot for the arena.

By Bloomberg New on October 23, 2014 4:14 P.M.

(Bloomberg) – Moving Madison Square Garden three blocks away to a U.S. Postal Service annex would allow for the expansion of Pennsylvania Station and alleviate congestion in the area, a coalition of planners and civic leaders said.

Penn Station, which was designed to serve 200,000 riders a day when it opened in 1960s, now has about a half-million daily visitors, more than John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports combined, according to a report released Thursday by the Municipal Art Society of New York and the Regional Plan Association.

“Moving the Garden is the optimal idea in terms of transforming Penn Station,” Margaret Newman, the executive director of the art society, said in an interview Friday. “It’s incredibly important for the economic vitality of midtown and the Penn district.”

Politicians, civic organizations and developers have been debating what do with Penn Station almost since its soaring predecessor designed by McKim, Meade & White was demolished in 1963, helping to spark the urban preservation movement. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman called the current rail terminal “a shabby, hopelessly confusing entry point to New York, a daily public shame on the city.”

Dual pressure

Ms. Newman said the recommendation faces “dual pressure” from Madison Square Garden Co., which operates the famous arena, and Amtrak, which cited needed tunnel construction as a possible hurdle to the proposal. Madison Square Garden Co., which has nine more years on its lease with the city, last year completed a three-year, $1 billion renovation of the arena. It included a new merchandise store, an expanded entryway on Seventh Avenue and new locker rooms for the National Basketball Association’s Knicks and the Rangers of the National Hockey League.

The Dolan family spun the company off from Cablevision Systems Corp. four years ago.

Kim Kerns, a spokeswoman for Madison Square Garden Co., declined to comment on the recommendation.

Ms. Newman of the art society estimated that remodeling Penn Station could cost about $4 billion, with the possibility of an additional $10 billion for transportation upgrades.

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Build $16B Hudson tunnel project or economy could lose $100M a day, Amtrak says

By Larry Higgs on November 06, 2014 at 4:40 PM
Passengers wait on the platform as an Amtrak train pulls into the station at Newark Penn Station. ( file photo)

Construction of new Amtrak tunnels and several allied projects to New York could cost an estimated $16 billion and under the most optimistic scenario could take up to a decade to build.

“It could be done in seven years if we put some incentives on it,” Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said during an interview with the Star-Ledger editorial board. “We’re looking at a minimum of seven years to 11 years. That’s from the time we get a go-ahead.”

Amtrak officials are in a race against time to avoid a commuting nightmare if one of the existing 100-year old tunnels has to be closed for major repairs before new tunnels are built. Train traffic would slow to a trickle, from an average of 24 to 6 trains per hour if one of the existing tunnels had to be closed.

The regional economy could lose $100 million a day in economic activity, due to a shut down, Boardman said.

About 400 NJ Transit commuter trains a day travel through the existing tunnels, he said.

An estimated 50 and 80 percent of the Gateway tunnel project funding should come from the federal government, with the remainder to be divided between New Jersey, New York and Amtrak, Boardman said. The Gateway Project includes two new tunnels under the Hudson, adding two new tracks along the corridor in New Jersey south of Newark, and construction an annex to New York’s Penn Station to handle additional trains.

…Exact costs to build the tunnels, a new Portal Bridge and an annex south of New York Penn Station won’t be known until after preliminary engineering is done. The next step is for Amtrak to take proposals from companies to conduct an environmental review in the spring, Boardman said.


The MTA Refuses to Put a Price Tag on Yet Another Capital Project

By Stephen Smith on November 11, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Penn Station Access, image from the New York Times

Last month, YIMBY took the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to task for including a request in their upcoming capital plan for $1.5 billion for design and construction of the second, East Harlem phase of the Second Avenue subway, without providing the public with an updated price tag for the project. While transit projects around the world often run over their allotted budgets, we’ve never heard of an agency in a democratic country that gave up on publicly estimating costs altogether.

Now, the MTA is at it again. Also included in the authority’s 2015-2019 capital program is a request for $743 million to begin what’s known as “Penn Station Access.” The overall project includes building four new Metro-North stations in the East Bronx – at Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest, and Hunts Point – along a line currently used by Amtrak, which feeds into Penn Station via the Hell Gate Bridge and Queens, plus upgrades needed to run commuter service along it.

The independent, nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission was the first to notice that the MTA did not include a price tag for the project, writing in their critique of the agency’s capital plan: “The commitment of $743 million to the Penn Station Access project seems particularly premature; its total cost has not been reported, its benefits have not been quantified” – there isn’t so much as a ridership estimate – “and it is not clear why it is preferred over other projects previously discussed.” (Can we take a guess?)

Following up on the CBC’s remarks, we submitted a freedom of information request to the MTA, asking for a total cost estimate for Penn Station Access. Their response, received today, was as follows:

  1. With respect to Penn Station Access, Metro-North does not have
    up-to-date total estimates as there is no final project scope. The
    documents Metro-North has in its possession are exempt from
    disclosure pursuant to New York Public Authorities Law section
    87(2)(g) pursuant to which an agency may deny access to inter-agency
    or intra-agency materials that are not final agency policy or

Hooking Metro North into Penn would be awesome. Given the commercial redevelopment of that area (the Hudson Yards, Chelsea), the need should be apparent. The local Bronx stops are just the bonus. I don’t know those tunnels well, but an LIC/Queens stop would be a dream too.


With the Bronx rising in terms of developments, further density could be supported with such stops. They probably don’t want to put a price tag because of the incompetence of the organization. Essentially whatever the price is, double it because overtime, projects with price tags seem to increase instead of decreasing. But this is going in the right direction. Certain parts of the Bronx and Queens deserve better coverage.


One-seat NYC ride on Raritan Line on track thanks to federal funds

By Larry Higgs on November 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM
A Raritan Valley Line train waits for passengers at track 5 in Newark Penn Station. One last hurdle needs to be cleared to use federal funds to expand transfer free service in the evening. (Larry Higgs/NJ Advance Media)

Raritan Valley Line rail commuters are closer to a transfer-free train ride to and from Manhattan in the evening after federal funds were approved by a transportation planning group Tuesday morning.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority approved transferring $910,000 in federal congestion management and clean air funds to NJ Transit to finance the “one-seat ride” which would spare Raritan Valley line riders from having to transfer between trains in Penn Station, Newark.

“This means that (federal) funding will be used to provide additional one-seat service on the Raritan Valley Line, in keeping with what has already been discussed by NJ Transit,” said David Behrend, an NJTPA spokesman.

One hurdle remains to be cleared. The Federal Transit Administration has to approve use of the funds, said Nancy Snyder, an NJ Transit spokeswoman. If the FTA approves, service would start at the beginning of next year, she said.

…The one-seat ride or a transfer free train trip has been the goal of the Raritan Valley Line Coalition since it formed in the 1998. The daily transfer between electric powered trains to and from New York to diesel powered Raritan Valley Line trains means commuters have to go down and up two flights of stairs in Newark Penn Station.

That goal seemed closer after NJ Transit bought dual mode locomotives, which can run under diesel power on the Raritan and on electric power going through the tunnels to and from New York.


I took this line for 4 years when I went to University. Glad that they are making these changes. Actually, along this corridor, there have been many midrises popping up all over Cranford, Westfield, and in Somerville. Commuter towns are getting popular in NJ.


NJ Transit conductors get customer service refresher

By Khurram Saeed on December 7, 2014

NJ Transit train conductors with a history of being less than courteous to riders will soon receive retraining.

Starting early next year, some front-line rail workers will have to take a crash course to bolster their people skills.

“It’s a program that is going to help employees understand their roles as it relates to providing exceptional customer service,” said Nancy Snyder, spokeswoman for NJ Transit, which contracts with Metro-North Railroad to provide rail service in Rockland and Orange counties.

Part of the training will include communicating clearly with customers, interpreting nonverbal communication, effective listening, conflict resolution and learning the best ways to handle customers who are being difficult, she said.

Metro-North also provides its conductors and new hires, including ticket sellers, customer service agents, call center employees and ushers, with similar instruction, spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said. It’s part of the conductors’ recertification, which occurs every three years.

“Customer service training is intended to enhance the customer experience so they feel welcomed and appreciated,” Anders said in an email. “We also train these employees on active listening techniques, problem resolution and using empathy to connect with customers.”

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Without irony, Christie embraces cross-Hudson capacity

By Dana Rubinstein 4:59 a.m. on December. 29, 2014
Christie. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Now, Chris Christie thinks the region needs to do more about cross-Hudson rail capacity.

“Unfortunately, options for crossing the Hudson River have not kept pace with this population growth," reads a report endorsed by Christie and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The report was issued by a special panel they created shortly after the Bridgegate scandal, in which Christie’s appointees at the Port Authority manufactured cross-Hudson traffic for political reasons, and several years after Christie unilaterally killed an undertaking called Access to the Region’s Core, which was the last, best solution for increasing rail capacity across the Hudson River.

Christie redirected much of the Port Authority funding set aside for the rail project toward repairing roads in his own state, arguing that New Jersey would have to bear the burden of projected cost overruns and that the whole thing was too risky.

At the time, Christie was less concerned about the state of the existing two rail tubes connecting New Jersey to Midtown, century-old marvels of their time that were nearing capacity and fast growing decrepit.

Senator Chuck Schumer called Christie’s move “one of the worst decisions that any governmental leader has made in the 20th century, or the 21st century.”

In June, the Times reported that Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance and the Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating whether Christie’s redirection of Port Authority funding violated securities law.

Christie, a Republican who is considering a run for president, seems to have become convinced since then that cross-Hudson capacity is a problem after all or, at the very least, that his former position on the issue is no longer politically tenable.

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Penn Station: A Place That Once Made Travelers Feel Important

By Michael Beschloss on January 3, 2015

The demolition of Penn Station in the early 1960s. In the background, the James A. Farley Post Office, also designed by McKim, Mead & White, is viewed as a successor, though plans have moved slowly. Credit Norman McGrath

If you don’t enjoy arriving in or departing from New York City through the squalid cavern known as Pennsylvania Station, you can blame — at least for a start — the desperate executives, short on public spirit, who tried to prop up the money-losing Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1950s.

During that decade of new interstate highways and commercial jets — all aided by various forms of public spending — the railroad’s managers became convinced that passenger train travel was in permanent decline. So in the mid-1950s, they decided to sell air rights to the eight acres between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets, where the costly-to-maintain old Penn Station stood.

The asking price was about $50 million (equal to about $440 million today), and their decision led to the demolition of one of the crown jewels of New York’s civic and architectural heritage.

Completed in 1910, the original Penn Station was intended to symbolize not only its powerful corporate owner but also New York’s status as the most vital city in a nation that was becoming a political and economic superpower.

The august and spacious building was designed by the architectural firm McKim Mead & White, which had also reconfigured the White House for Theodore Roosevelt to make it more suitable for the leader of a world colossus. The terminal’s brash, white, eagle-crowned exterior with 84 granite Doric columns was based on the Acropolis, the Brandenburg Gate, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Bank of England. Its vast, lofty waiting hall was derived from the ancient Roman baths of Caracalla, Diocletian and Titus.

Charles McKim, the co-founder of the famous architectural firm, pronounced his Pennsylvania Station “a monumental gateway and entrance” to New York City. He enjoyed thinking of the “well-gowned women who would sweep up and down his broad staircases,” one of his friends said.

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Union County residents invited to join historic ride

By Suburban News on January 09, 2015 at 11:39 AM

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) Board of Trustees, One Seat Ride Coalition and Coalition of Raritan Valley Line Mayors invites the public to be part of history by riding the first weekday evening off-peak one-seat ride train from Raritan Borough to Penn Station N.Y. and from Penn Station N…Y to High Bridge on Monday, Jan. 12.

“We are very excited about achieving the second step of the ‘one-seat’ ride,” said Peter Palmer, Somerset Country Freeholder and Chairman of the Raritan Valley Coalition. “We encourage residents to take advantage of this and we will continue to work with NJ Transit for expanded ‘one seat’ service.”

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition has been advocating for a ‘one-seat’ ride on the line for nearly 20 years, and the first accomplishment in the process was taken by NJ TRANSIT in March of 2014 when the first off-peak trains were scheduled. The second step in the process of having after 8 p.m., weekday direct service was originally promised for November of 2014, but was sidetracked by budget issues. After these issues were cleared up, the after 8 p.m., was then scheduled for Jan. 12.

“We’re proud of the progress made this year in getting direct service to New York in off-peak daytime hours and evenings,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, who represents Union County on the Board of the Coalition. “It’s the result of ongoing work by the Coalition, public officials, train riders, and NJ TRANSIT. And it doesn’t stop here. We will keep working to expand this service.”

“The residents of our towns are looking forward to this direct service to Penn Station New York during weekday evenings on the Raritan Valley Line,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, chair of the Mayors Coalition, “The Line is a tremendous asset to our communities.”

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Jackson: N.J. lawmakers present a united front for new rail tunnel

By Herb Jackson on January 4, 2015!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_650/tunnel010515.jpg
An August 2014 photo of the so-called tunnel box at the Hudson Yards development in Manhattan.

…Rail access to New York City has taken on a new urgency following Amtrak’s revelation last year that the existing two-track tunnel, built 104 years ago, will fail within 20 years because of damage from Superstorm Sandy flooding. Before then, delays will become common for Amtrak and NJ Transit, which uses Amtrak’s Hudson tunnel, because of periodic closures to stabilize it.

Gateway calls for a new two-track tunnel under the river and other construction, including new or rebuilt bridges in the Meadowlands, to provide four tracks between Newark and New York City. The next few months will be critical in determining whether the project moves off the drawing board, because Congress faces a May deadline for a new transportation bill.

Governor Christie won praise from fiscal conservatives, and criticism from many planners and commuters, more than four years ago when he gave up a $3 billion federal funding commitment by halting NJ Transit’s construction of a new tunnel, known as Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC. At the same time, he has said he supports a new tunnel, under the right conditions.

“The governor is open to a plan that is well-engineered but also fair and equitable to New Jersey, with costs shared among all benefiting jurisdictions,” said Steve Schapiro, spokes­man for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

But it is not clear if, as a possible presidential candidate, Christie will be as forceful in pressuring Republican congressional leaders for financing as he was in 2013, when he bitterly denounced House conservatives who had temporarily blocked disaster aid for Sandy recovery. Much will depend on details that have yet to be decided.

Top officials of Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation voiced support for Gateway at a Senate hearing last month, and noted that about $185 million in federal Sandy aid was used to preserve the right of way for two new tracks on the New York side before the foundations of new office towers in the Hudson Yards development, now under construction, filled in land that would be needed for them.

But we are at a point now where we really need to attack the bigger question about who’s paying how much, when and how,” said Peter Rogoff, the third-highest ranking official at the federal DOT.