Schumer offers plan for Hudson River tunnels


The long-delayed effort to dig two new train tunnels under the Hudson River into Manhattan could get a boost under a proposal floated Tuesday by Sen. Chuck Schumer for the creation of a bi-state public benefit corporation called the Gateway Development Corporation.
New York’s senior senator said the new entity would be able to draw upon both federal railroad funding available to Amtrak and transit monies available to NJ Transit in a partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Port Authority initiated a plan in 2009 to build the additional two tunnels, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pulled his state’s support for the project in 2010.
Flooding of the two existing tunnels with salt water from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 accelerated their deterioration and has added the urgency for digging new tunnels. “They are, inevitably, only a few years away from being structurally unsound,’’ said Schumer, who described Christie’s decision to pull funding in 2010 as “a massive mistake.’’
“Amtrak and NJ Transit send 450 trains a day through two tunnels under the Hudson, which were constructed in 1910 and remain largely as built,’’ Schumer said. “On an annual basis, Penn Station has well over triple – triple – the number of users than all three NYC-regional airports — JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark — put together.’’
NJ Transit commuters who use the tunnels include residents of Rockland County.
And the Amtrak passengers are using the North East Corridor service that links Washington and Philadelphia to New York and Boston.
Congress is considering legislation that would allow Amtrak to carve out profits from its North East Corridor service and use it for capital improvements such as the Gateway project that calls for improvements in the approaches to the Hudson River along with the two new tunnels.


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