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RAIL EMPLOYMENT



Rail News Home Amtrak

3/9/2020



Rail News: Amtrak

Hudson River rail tunnel environmental report to be delayed, Chao says


The Hudson River tunnel project is part of Amtrak's Gateway infrastructure program for the Northeast Corridor.
Photo – Amtrak

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao last week announced that the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) environmental impact report for the Gateway Hudson River rail tunnel rehabilitation project will continue to be delayed.

Chao said the report won’t be completed as long as the project fails to qualify for federal funding, NJ.com reported.

“Many of us believe that there’s been a number of unjustifiable obstacles put in the way of the Gateway project and this is just one of them,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told Chao at a Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee hearing, according to the news outlet.

Last month, 15 Democratic senators sent a letter to the FRA demanding to know why the federal agency had not yet acted on an environmental impact statement or a record of decision for the tunnel project.

Chao last week said the report must include final project details that won’t be clear until funding is reserved.

“The purpose of an environmental impact statement is not to discuss funding, it is to discuss the environmental impact of a project,” Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz told NJ.com.

Last month, the Federal Transit Administration rated the tunnel project a "medium-low" priority, a designation that serves to delay the project's eligibility for federal funding under the Capital Investment Grant program.

The Hudson River tunnel project is part of Amtrak's Gateway infrastructure program for the Northeast Corridor. The condition of the 109-year-old tunnel, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, continues to deteriorate.



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