FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2006
Senators Schumer, Lautenberg Lead Fight To Build New Rail Tunnel Under Hudson River
New Tunnel and Station Would Ease Commute Times, Create 44,000 New Jobs in NY and NJ
Schumer’s Position on Banking Committee Puts Him in Catbird Seat to Secure Federal Funding
Today U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Frank Lautenberg kicked off their fight to create a new tunnel under the Hudson River to accommodate the increase in train traffic into Manhattan and promote economic development and job growth all over the region. The project, called "Access to the Region's Core" (THE Tunnel) and headed by New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, consists of a new state-of-the-art two-track tunnel under the Hudson River, a new rail station adjacent to Penn Station, track improvements along the Northeast Corridor, and improvements and expansion at major stations in New York. Last week, the Senators wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta expressing their strong support for the project. The major infrastructure project is expected to attract 24,000 new non-construction related jobs in New York City alone. Today they are calling on Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta to expedite approval to begin preliminary engineering on the tunnel.
“Commuters are the life blood of New York City’s economy and this tunnel will be a brand new artery to get the blood flowing better than ever,” Schumer said. “Access to the Region’s Core will kick start job growth and development on the West Side and throughout the City because it will allow tens of thousands of commuters to get to work easier and quicker. This will be a short in the arm for the entire region.”
“We need to dig this tunnel so we can dig our way out of the congestion on our roads,” said Lautenberg, a longtime champion of passenger rail service. “If we want to continue down the path of prosperity we must build a new rail tunnel. If we fail to act, we face a future of more traffic, longer commutes and more pollution.”
In 2001, Penn Station reached its capacity with 42,500 passengers coming in by NJ Transit or Amtrak during morning rush hour every day. In 1994, 88 trains arrived every morning; ten years later, in 2004, the number of peak trains has more than doubled to 186. Passenger demand is expected to more than double over the next 15-20 years. Creation of THE Tunnel and the new 34th street station will immediately double commuter rail capacity in order to meet demand for NJ Transit service in to Manhattan for at least 20 years, provide a one-seat ride for Northern New Jersey and Hudson Valley commuters straight in to midtown, and improve service and efficiency on existing lines.
"This would play a critical role in expanding our transportation capacity while simultaneously helping to further fuel the expansion of our region’s economic growth,” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said.
“The Trans-Hudson Tunnel would provide critical upgrades to our mass transit system and would fuel the continued expansion of our region’s economic growth,” said Senator Menendez.
The most important benefit of THE Tunnel is that it will allow for a huge influx of new jobs in Midtown Manhattan and throughout the City. Even without the new tunnel, employment in Manhattan is expected to grow from 2.7 million to almost 3 million over the next two decades, with over half of this growth in midtown alone. Increased future economic and job growth in Manhattan depends on convenient transportation access between Midtown and the rest of the region, especially the suburbs. Creating THE Tunnel and increasing transportation access in to New York City will generate roughly 44,000 new jobs in the New York/New Jersey region over the next 10 years, 24,000 of them in New York City. The jobs are the result of increased regional competitiveness as business relocate or expand in the region.