Biden Plan Could include Money for New Tunnel Between New Jersey, New York City

December 19, 2018---North Bergen--Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tours the North River Rail Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York Wednesday night December 19, 2018. The North River Tunnels are a pair of tunnels that carry Amtrak and New Jersey Transit rail lines under the Hudson River between Weehawken, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, New York City. As of March 2018, up to $541 million for the Gateway Project, a program to build two additional rail tunnels under the Hudson River, was provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan could fund a new tunnel between New Jersey and New York City on the Northeast Corridor, according to published reports.

The new tunnel is part of the multibillion-dollar Gateway Program, a plan focused on a roughly 10-mile stretch of the Northeast Corridor owned by Amtrak.

The plan “makes clear that this administration is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to moving forward with the new Gateway rail tunnel, which is critical to the regional and national economy,” Bloomberg.com quoted U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as saying in a statement.

“Gateway is the most significant joint Amtrak-transit infrastructure project in the country, and therefore ripe for funding from the president’s jobs plan,” Schumer added, per Bloomberg. “I look forward to advancing this funding through the Senate to get Gateway built.”

The plan also includes $80 billion for Amtrak. According to a fact sheet on the White House’s website, the money would, in part, “address Amtrak’s repair backlog,” “modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor” and “enhance grant and loan programs that support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.”

The Pennsylvania Railroad opened the current tunnel, which includes two tubes, more than 110 years ago. Amtrak and N.J. Transit both use the tunnel, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy and is a chokepoint for trains serving New York City’s Penn Station.

“The NEC’s many major tunnels and bridges – most of which are over a century old – must be replaced and upgraded to avoid devastating consequences for our transportation network and the country,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement.

Unsurprisingly, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, lauded the proposal, saying the president “has put forward a truly nation-binding plan.”

“For us in New Jersey, this plan will super-charge our efforts to build a stronger, fairer, and more resilient economy,” Murphy said in a statement. “It will create good, union jobs.

“It will energize our emergence as a leader in offshore wind energy, restore our global preeminence in technology and the life sciences, and allow us to do more for our families and communities in terms of safe housing and schools,” Murphy added. “And, by working to modernize our highways and get the Gateway Program funded and moving, it will ensure we have the safe and modern transportation infrastructure our economy and people both demand.”

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said the Gateway Program is “a project of national significance for a region of the country that generates one-fifth of the entire U.S. economy and must be completed without further delay.”

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