SCHUMER LAYS OUT NEW PLAN, INCLUDING NEW COLLABORATIVE GATEWAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, TO BUILD DESPERATELY NEEDED, NEW CROSS-HUDSON RAIL TUNNEL; GATEWAY PROJECT WOULD REVIVE ONE-SEAT RIDE PROPOSAL FOR ROCKLAND & ORANGE COUNTY COMMUTERS, ALLOWING HUDSON VALLEY RESIDENTS TO TRAVEL DIRECTLY TO PENN STATION WITHOUT CHANGING TRAINS
Amtrak’s Gateway Project Could Provide Thousands Of Hudson Valley Residents Easy Access In & Out of New York By Expanding Hudson River Tunnel Capacity and Building The “Secaucus Loop”
Loop Would Connect Rail Lines From Orange And Rockland County Directly To Penn Station, Creating a “One-Seat Ride” For Residents West of the Hudson River
Schumer: Gateway Plan Would Provide Opening To Realize One-Seat Ride for Orange and Rockland Residents
Standing at the Middletown Train Station, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today discussed his new framework to fund and build a new cross-Hudson tunnel, as part of Amtrak’s Gateway program. The new cross-Hudson tunnel would create the opening to realize the long-sought one-seat ride to Penn Station for long-suffering Orange and Rockland train commuters. This comprehensive proposal, which would build two new tunnel tubes under the Hudson River, would also allow for the construction of the Secaucus Loop. Schumer said the construction of this loop, combined with the increased capacity provided by the new cross-Hudson tunnels could provide a “one-seat ride” for commuters in Orange and Rockland Counties. This comes on the heels of a speech Schumer made in New York City where he called for the establishment of a Gateway Development Corporation, a collaborative partnership that would bring together stakeholders like the States of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), NJ Transit and the Port Authority, in an effort to get the Gateway Project moving forward, beginning with the construction of two new Hudson River tunnel tubes. Schumer said that the creation of this development corporation is the first step in making the Gateway project a reality, which will replace two existing tunnels under the Hudson River and ultimately double cross-Hudson train capacity to New York City.
Schumer explained that, in addition to building the new tunnels under the Hudson River, the larger Amtrak Gateway proposal also includes a project that is a long-dreamed-about transportation goal for the Hudson Valley—the so-called “one-seat ride.” Schumer explained that the Gateway proposal includes a number of projects beyond just the Hudson River tunnels, one of which is the construction of the “Secaucus Loop,” which is needed to connect West-of-the-Hudson commuters using the Main/Bergen line directly to the tunnels that proceed into New York City without having to transfer in New Jersey. Schumer said this project is desperately needed, as it could be transformative for Lower Hudson Valley commuters, create good-paying construction jobs and spur economic development for the entire region for years to come.
Specifically, Schumer said that, in order to make this project a reality, stakeholders including Amtrak, the federal government, the States of NY and NJ, the MTA, NJ Transit, and the Port Authority will need to work together and create the Gateway Development Corporation. Schumer said having this development corporation would bring all of these entities under one umbrella to more efficiently access and leverage the kinds of federal and state resources needed to achieve progress on this project.
“We are fast approaching a regional transportation Armageddon – the busiest rail lines in the country will soon be stranded without a way into New York City, which could be devastating not only for commerce, but our commuters. That is why we should create a new Gateway Development Corporation in which all the players – from New York and New Jersey and from Amtrak and the federal government – can get together, plan and design this must-build project and pull down every available source of public and private funding to make it possible. Funding the Gateway project would not only ensure we can build the tunnels necessary to keeping New York State, and our nation’s economic center, functioning, but it would also pave the way to creating the one-seat ride Orange and Rockland County commuters have been begging for year after year,” said Schumer. “Providing a way for our West-of-the-Hudson commuters to get to New York City without having to transfer trains has the potential to completely revolutionize commuting and spur an incredible level of economic development. That is why I am fighting to make sure we are taking critical steps now that we will need later on to make this project a reality.”
Schumer was joined by Lynn Cione, President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce.
Schumer said that the Gateway Tunnel Project is desperately needed, not only for the purpose of transporting millions more workers, tourists and shoppers into and out of New York City each day, but also because the two tunnels that currently carry rail traffic under the Hudson River and into Manhattan will soon become inoperable. Schumer said that because these tunnels were flooded during Superstorm Sandy, they are deteriorating faster than most initially anticipated. In addition, these tunnels are old, built between 1904 and 1908, and are merely a few years away from being considered structurally unsound. For these reasons, Schumer said, the Gateway project has been in the works for many years. While this plan incorporates several important upgrades needed to improve the Northeast Corridor in the New York-New Jersey area, one of the high-priority aspects of the Gateway program includes building two new tunnels under the Hudson to replace these outdated ones. Schumer explained that doing this would provide the opening necessary to fully realize the goal of creating a one-seat ride for Orange and Rockland residents.
Schumer said implementing the long-awaited one-seat ride for the West-of-the-Hudson residents who commute to New York Penn Station would be transformative for the Lower Hudson Valley region. This would be accomplished by first increasing tunnel capacity into New York City via the construction of two new tunnels, and then constructing the “Secaucus Loop,” which would connect the Main/Bergen lines that run from Orange and Rockland Counties directly to the rail lines that bring passengers under the Hudson River and into New York’s Penn Station each day. However, this cannot happen without creating a path forward for the Gateway project to get underway. Doing this would pave the way for the long-awaited one-seat ride for residents West-of-the-Hudson, who would no longer have to transfer and change trains in Secaucus as a result of this loop. Schumer said this would not only revolutionize commuting for West-of-the-Hudson residents, but it would create good-paying jobs during the construction phase of the tunnels and loop, and spur increased economic development for both the New York City and Hudson Valley areas.
Therefore, following a speech in New York City, Schumer visited the Hudson Valley to further discuss his new framework to fund and build Amtrak’s Gateway cross-Hudson tunnel and what it would mean for Orange and Rockland residents who commute to New York City. While only preliminary estimates exist, the cost of the two new tunnel tubes is estimated at between $10-$14 billon and the boarder Gateway plan, which includes the estimated $800 million Secaucus Loop, is estimated to cost $20-25 billion. Schumer said that because Amtrak cannot access federal mass transit funding and the Port Authority and regional transit agencies cannot access federal railroad dollars, the best way to ensure Gateway can be completed is to allow each entity a seat at the table and to organize under a non-profit that can add up several pieces of financing, with an eye toward getting the maximum amount possible from the federal government. Finding ways to piece together the massive financing puzzle needed to make this project a reality will be the first step, Schumer said, in making the Gateway project a reality. Schumer said this will provide a path forward on the transformative Gateway project that will replace these two existing tunnels under the Hudson River and create the Secaucus Loop for Orange and Rockland County commuters, ultimately doubling cross-Hudson train capacity to New York City and spurring economic development opportunities for years to come.
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