NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After a warning from Amtrak that NJ TRANSIT delays may be the new norm, Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing the formation of a nonprofit development corporation to plan and finance the construction of new rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York City.
With the combination of old infrastructure and damage from superstorm Sandy, Schumer said we are approaching what he calls a “regional transportation Armageddon,” CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported.
Schumer said Tuesday that none of the existing transportation entities operating in the region have the wherewithal to pull off the Gateway project by themselves.
“Amtrak can’t access federal mass transit funding, the Port Authority and regional agencies can’t access federal railroad dollars the way Amtrak can,” he said. “We only get Gateway done by adding up several pieces of financing with an eye toward getting the maximum amount possible from the federal government.”
The goal is to expand train capacity into New York from New Jersey and the rest of the East Coast.
“No doubt, it will take a gargantuan effort,” Schumer said. “Gateway is the single biggest infrastructure project in the entire country. It incorporates several important upgrades we need to make on the Northeast Corridor in the New York, New Jersey area. But far and away, the most important part of the Gateway program is building two tunnels under the Hudson.”
Schumer said the entire U.S. rail network between Washington and Boston could be disrupted and disabled if the project isn’t built.