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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senate appropriations bill includes $15 million for Amtrak tunnel project


The Senate appropriations bill approved Tuesday includes a minimum of $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway Tunnel project, said U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a joint statement.

The project calls for building two new Hudson River tunnels to increase commuter-rail capacity and accommodate high-speed rail between New Jersey and New York City. The existing 100-year-old tunnels into Midtown Manhattan are operating at capacity during rush hour and ridership is anticipated to double in the next 20 years, the senators said.

“The existing tunnel is … not capable of adequately serving our region’s growing number of transit riders,” said Lautenberg. “This funding will allow Amtrak to begin moving the Gateway Tunnel project forward to create jobs, increase access to commuter trains and bring America’s first real high-speed rail project to New Jersey and the Northeast Corridor.”

After the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel project, Amtrak expedited plans to build the new trans-Hudson rail tunnels. The Gateway project is proposed to increase New Jersey Transit commuter-rail capacity into New York by 65 percent and enable Amtrak to add eight trains during peak hours.

The funding bill that contains the Gateway funding now must now be merged with the House version of the measure.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/3/2011