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Rail News: Amtrak

Gateway program poised to move ahead at 'record speed,' Amtrak says

An Amtrak train exits one of the Hudson River tunnels.
Photo – Amtrak


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has added Amtrak's Hudson Tunnel project to the President's Permitting Dashboard — a move that Amtrak officials say will allow the Gateway program to move ahead at "record speed."

The permitting dashboard is an online tool for federal agencies, project developers and the public to track the government's permitting and review process for large or complex infrastructure projects, according to an Amtrak press release. Adding the Hudson Tunnel project to the dashboard will make it a "top priority" for the agencies involved in the review process, the release states.

The Hudson Tunnel project, which calls for replacing aging rail tunnels running between New York and New Jersey, is one component of Amtrak's Gateway program, which involves a series of project aimed at doubling rail capacity between the two states and improving resiliency to prevent major damage during severe weather.

In addition, Gateway partners have made "significant progress" in securing federal grant funding for the Hudson Tunnel Project and the Portal North Bridge, which is the program’s first phase. The USDOT in July accepted both projects into the New Starts Development process, which makes them eligible for Federal Transit Administration funds.

Amtrak can now move forward with identifying specific development plans for the projects and, in the case of the Hudson Tunnel project, completing the environmental review process. 

Meanwhile, Amtrak has advanced construction of the underground concrete casing that will house future rail infrastructure for the Hudson Yards development project. The work preserves the right of way under a portion of the project on Manhattan's West Side.

By retaining the right of way, Amtrak has the option to build a future tunnel to connect the development directly to Penn Station in New York.

"The accomplishments and milestones achieved in the past year represent real, tangible progress in advancing the Gateway Program," said Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia. "New York City is the beating heart of the Northeast Corridor and the improvements envisioned under Gateway are part of the foundation for the economic future of this region."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2016