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Senate Approves $15 Million For New Hudson Rail Tunnel

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Gateway Tunnel Project (credit: Amtrak)

Gateway Tunnel Project (credit: Amtrak)

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Senate approved limited funds for a new tunnel intended to help ease the constant delays and congestion New Jersey commuters have dealt with for years.

It’s called the Gateway Tunnel and would follow a nine mile rail path from Secaucus to Manhattan.

“The more options we have, the more access to the city we have, the better off we are. The easier it is to get to work. I’m all for it,” one NJ Transit rider told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne.

It would essentially be the same route of the ARC Tunnel – the controversial plan that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie canceled because of funding concerns.

If approved, the project may be completed by 2020. When the plan was unveiled, Christie said he wasn’t ready to sign on just yet.

“Well see if it’s good for the taxpayers of the state. So we’ll see. But as we sit here today, now, if they ask me for a check today, the answer is no,” Christie said.

The Senate’s approval of $15 million for the tunnel is only a drop in the barrel of the money that would be needed, but it does come only a week after another piece of possible good news for New Jersey train riders.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he wants to extend the number 7 train from Times Square into New Jersey.

“The idea of having good transportation and mass transportation is something that’s very appealing to this city. I’ve always argued that if you’re going to depend on cars to come into the city we’re always going to have delays,” Bloomberg said on October 26.

The estimated cost of that project is $10 billion.

“This is something where the economics seem to make some sense,” Bloomberg said. “The subway extension is on budget, on time pretty much coming down the West Side and you could probably continue it over. There are some economic arguments that it would be justified.”

Governor Christie is apparently on board with the proposal.

“We have been intrigued all along by this as a potential alternative to the ARC tunnel project, which was an albatross for New Jersey and its taxpayers with its billions in cost overruns to be absorbed entirely by New Jersey,” said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak.

The mayor’s plan, with a price tag still to be worked out, would be a multi-state, multi-agency venture.

“We want better transportation from here to all the markets all the places that people live that want to come into the city to work and to shop,” Bloomberg said.

What do you think of the Gateway Tunnel proposal? Sound off in our comments section below…

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