SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Port Authority has approved a project to speed up the ride into the city for some NJ TRANSIT commuters, and experts said it could also increase the value of homes in the area.

For thousands of NJ TRANSIT commuters on the Main/Bergen and Pascack Valley lines, a one-seat ride into Manhattan has been nothing but a distant dream.

But ith the Port Authority voting to move forward on the much talked-about Gateway Project, it may finally become a reality in places like Ridgewood.

“It’s a great thing and it’s long overdue. I’ve been doing this commute into the city for 20 years,” John Meyer told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

The estimated $20 billion project includes new rail tunnels under the Hudson River to replace the century-old tunnels damaged by Superstorm Sandy, and a new connection at Penn Station.

Commuters wouldn’t have to transfer at Secaucus Junction anymore, and some experts believe that property values could jump in towns with trains on the main Bergen and Pascack Valley lines.

“Real estate prices will definitely rise from this,” Ralph DiBugnara said.

DiBugnara is a Vice President at a mortgage company in Parsippany. He said a shorter commute is a major selling point for home buyers.

“It’s the most important thing. I think you’ll see the closer they are to the city or the easier the commute to the city, the more they’re willing to pay,” he said.

History backs that up. In 1996 when NJ TRANSIT started its Midtown Direct service, a Regional Plan Association study showed homes within a half mile of the affected train stations rose an average of $34,000.

“That’s great as long as property taxes don’t go up along with it,” one homeowner said.

The planning process will take another three years before construction on the new train tunnel can even begin.