WASHINGTON --The draft text of the fiscal year 2018 U.S. Department of Transportation Appropriations Act includes $900 million in new funding for the Gateway Hudson River train tunnel project.
Tens of thousands of commuters on the Raritan Valley Line, including Somerville, will benefit from the project, with fewer delays and a smoother ride in to and back from Manhattan.
“Congress is wise to invest in the Gateway tunnel proposal. The Hudson River tunnel project is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, providing a critical link between New Jersey and New York where our regional economy contributes $3.7 trillion to the Nation's GDP,” said New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th. “This is a major win for Garden State commuters."
Lance credited fellow New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for ensuring the funds were included in the proposed spending plan.
Tuesday's announcement, coupled with passage of legislation signed into law by President Trump last spring providing additional funds for improvements to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, brings the combined federal support for the Hudson River tunnel project to nearly $1 billion.
Pre-construction cost estimates for the massive 10-year infrastructure project range between $11-13 billion.
Gateway is still in the planning and design phase.
Gateway is a comprehensive program of strategic rail infrastructure improvements designed to improve current services and create new capacity that will allow the doubling of passenger trains running under the Hudson River. The program will increase track, tunnel, bridge, and station capacity, eventually creating four mainline tracks between Newark, NJ, and Penn Station, New York, including a new, two-track Hudson River tunnel.
The program also includes updates to, and modernization of, existing infrastructure, such as the electrical system that supplies power to the roughly 450 weekday trains using this segment of the Northeast Corridor, and rebuilding and replacing the damaged components of the existing, century-old North River Tunnel, which was inundated with seawater during Super Storm Sandy.
By eliminating the bottleneck in New York and creating additional tunnel, track, and station capacity in the most congested segment of the Northeast Corridor, which runs between Washington and Boston, the Gateway Program will provide greater levels of service, increased redundancy, added reliability for shared operations, and additional capacity for the future increases in commuter and intercity rail service.
Lance and Frelinghusen represent several towns located along the Raritan Valley Line, which include: High Bridge; Annandale; Lebanon; Whitehouse; North Branch; Raritan; Somerville; Bridgewater; Bound Brook; Dunellen; Plainfield; Netherwood; Fanwood; Westfield; Garwood; Cranford; Roselle Park; Union and Newark.
A series of public hearings soliciting comments and input on the $86M Gateway Project Draft Environmental Statement are scheduled as follows:
Aug. 1, Hotel Pennsylvania, Skytop Ballroom, 18th floor, 401 7th Ave. at 33rd St., New York City, 10001;
Aug. 3, Secaucus Junction Rail Station, Upper Level Long Hallway, County Road and County Avenue, Secaucus, 07094;
Aug. 10, Union City High School, 2500 Kennedy Blvd., Union City, NJ 07087.
Each hearing will include an afternoon and evening session, from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. with a brief presentation about the Project at 3:15 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m.
Members of the public are invited to provide an oral statement or to submit comments in writing. The hearing facilities will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Spanish and American Sign Language translators will be present. If other special accommodations are needed, contact the Project team at least five days prior to the hearings at 973-261-8115, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions and parking information, please visit the Eventspage.
Further information is available on the website at hudsontunnelproject.com