Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gateway Begins with 1,000-Foot Journey

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gateway Begins with 1,000-Foot Journey

Article excerpt

Time waits for no man. Saltwater waits for no commuter. After the two-tube Hudson River rail tunnel was flooded during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the clock started ticking. It is relentless. And as saltwater continues to corrode the more than 100-year-old tunnel's infrastructure, Congress and state officials are not moving fast enough to avoid the commuter and economic disaster that awaits if each of those tubes is closed for a year of repair and there are no additional river tubes completed.

Yet it is not without all hope. Recently, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-Wyckoff, led a tour through the first two stages of the rail box below the Hudson Yards development project under construction. The vast cavern is but a 1,000-foot beginning in a complicated infrastructure project that will culminate with the completion of Gateway - the rail proposal that will bring two tracks through a new Hudson tunnel to an expanded Penn Station, perhaps by the end of the next decade.

The perhaps is because of funding. The new cavern came with a $235 million price tag, according to Amtrak. But as The Record's Road Warrior John Cichowski reports, Gateway is estimated to cost more than $20 billion. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, was able to secure $900 million which could go toward Gateway, but New Jersey and New York have no such powerful advocate in the Senate.

And despite President Donald Trump's promises to invest in infrastructure, he planned to cut Amtrak funding, as well as funding for any so-called "new starts" programs. So this is a very big lift.

Gottheimer was bringing attention to what has worked so far - cooperative efforts from officials on both sides of the Hudson with Amtrak to get a rail box in place before a massive development project rose above the site. Sandy damage has highlighted the need for a new tunnel. …

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