Union County Freeholder Daniel Sullivan today announced his strong support for the Amtrak’s proposed Gateway Project, which would greatly expand capacity for Amtrak and NJ Transit trains traveling to midtown Manhattan.
“The Gateway Project would have a huge positive impact on Union County and the entire region,” said Sullivan, who also serves as Chairman of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). “Its construction would have immediate benefits by creating much-needed jobs, and in the long run, the improvements to our rail infrastructure would fuel economic development in the County and beyond.”
The proposed Gateway Project was announced earlier this week by Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman and U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez. Amtrak plans to spend $50 million to begin preliminary engineering and design on two new rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York City that would increase NJ Transit’s train capacity and allow for development of regional high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor. The announcement comes in the wake of the cancellation of the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) rail tunnel project late last year.
“ARC may be gone, but there is still a very real and compelling need for more trans-Hudson transit capacity,” Sullivan said. “We’re now vying with other regions around the country and the world for economic activity. World-class transit service for New Jersey and real high-speed rail for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast will make us truly competitive.”
Sullivan also pointed out that the project would have strong economic benefits at the local level by boosting home values along the lines and creating development opportunities, especially in areas near train stations.
“Make no mistake about it,” Sullivan said. “The Gateway Project would be a true investment in the future of our county and region, with very real and positive impacts for our residents.”
The new tunnels would allow for an additional 13 NJ Transit trains per peak hour and increase the number of Amtrak trains into the city by eight per hour. It would provide connections to Moynihan Station and a new Penn Station South, which would be connected to the existing New York Penn Station. The project also would replace and expand the Portal Bridge, a vital component of the Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak projects that the project could be completed in 2020 at an estimated cost of $13.5 billion. It will take a lead in finding ways to pay the cost and will look for contributions from local, regional and state governments, as well as private investors Jersey, and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), as well as private investors.