NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Gateway Project, including the new Hudson River rail tunnel, is back on track with federal money now secured.
Amtrak chair Tony Coscia thanked New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for figuring out where the federal dollars for the tunnel will come from and getting that into the new federal transportation bill.
“I’m sure everybody has sat on trains where you pound your fist and say, ‘I wish someone would just do something,'” Coscia said Monday. “I’m proud to be with people who actually did something.”
Schumer said they scored “a trifecta victory” with the bill, getting three separate sources of funding for the project.
Amtrak will be able to reinvest profits from the northeast corridor toward the tunnel project.
The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program will also provide low interest loans, and the capital investment grant program, also called New Starts, can now provide money for Gateway and other projects.
Getting the federal government to pick up half the tab for the $20 billion project meant explaining how critical the region’s rail service is to the nation’s economy, according to the senators.
Ridership has doubled since 1990 on the rails under the Hudson, Booker said.
“As the demand is going up, we’re faced with the ultimate crisis of having to have one of these tunnels close down to be repaired, which would create a transportation and traffic Armageddon,” Booker said.
Schumer said the money should help the project to be completed before the aging tunnels fail.
“It was crumbling before, Sandy accelerated that deterioration and within seven to 10 years there might be no tunnel under the Hudson,” Schumer said.
The transportation bill should deliver a new tunnel before that happens, according to Schumer.