Amtrak is taking a close look at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s possibly-disaster-averting new L train repair strategy as a “common sense solution” for their own damaged tunnels between Manhattan and Queens, the Daily News reports. The agency would, of course, subject the tunnel fix to more scrutiny before making a decision. Amtrak chairman Anthony Coscia said “It is important for us to do a thorough vetting so that we can determine now at this stage whether it’s a methodology that we could use. Because if it is, it will make the process far less painful to our travelers,” much like the new subway solution would allegedly be.
Could this make the Gateway Project obsolete?
Last night, Governor Cuomo toured the Gateway Tunnel to survey its levels of corrosion and damage beneath the Hudson River. He was joined by the same experts from Cornell University’s College of Engineering and Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science who toured the Canarsie Tunnel last week with the Governor. The purpose of the tour was to provide insight into rehabilitating the Canarsie Tunnel ahead of the L train shutdown. However, the tour may definitely have done double duty as a push to the Trump administration, reiterating the importance of this critical project which won’t be able to go forward without federal support.
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Via Gov. Cuomo’s office on Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called his meeting with President Donald Trump “productive,” despite not reaching an agreement about the funding of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The two Queens natives met for lunch at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the Gateway project, a plan to fix an existing train tunnel and build a new one, construct two new bridges, and expand Penn Station, estimated to cost $30 billion. “I think it’s fair to say the president was receptive to what we were talking about,” Cuomo said. But there is no timeline for the project, as the governor noted. “So we are nowhere right now,” Cuomo told reporters. “There is no clock ticking because there is no clock.”
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Cuomo touring the tunnel in October; photo via governor’s office on Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss funding for the Gateway Tunnel Project, a plan which would fix an existing rail tunnel and build a new one under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City. In October, Cuomo sent the president a video of the severely damaged, century-old tunnel and called on the Trump administration to fund their share of the project, which is estimated to cost $30 billion. “The Federal Government poses many challenges for the State of New York but one of the top priorities is to replace the Gateway tunnels,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These tunnels are Federally owned by the Amtrak Corporation and must be replaced.”
As Politico reports, supporters of what many consider the region’s most crucial infrastructure project are cautiously optimistic for the project’s future for the first time since President Trump nixed federal funding. The massive project involves fixing the existing tunnel and constructing a new tunnel under the Hudson River.
Are changes afoot?
Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans on sending video footage of the damaged tunnel under the Hudson River to Washington to show why federal funds are necessary for the repair project. On late Wednesday night, Cuomo toured the century-old tunnel that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy and called on President Donald Trump to fund the Gateway Tunnel Project, which includes fixing the existing tunnel and constructing a new tunnel under the river. While President Barack Obama had pledged to split the cost of the $30 billion project, the Trump administration has said it won’t contribute federal funds.
See the damage
Rendering via the Governor’s office
At a well-timed press event this morning, Governor Cuomo touted the state’s $100 billion building program, the largest in the nation, and said if elected for another term, he’d increase that commitment to $150 billion. Among the many airport redesigns and the subway emergency plan, perhaps no project is more dear to Cuomo’s heart than that of Penn Station. And after a tour of the Moynihan Train Hall, on budget and on track to open by the end of 2020, the Governor announced that the dire safety, security, and circulation situation at Penn Station cannot wait two more years.
While construction wraps up at the LIRR and Amtrak’s future home, the state will build a new LIRR facility in the existing Penn Station. The proposal will double access to the trains with new entrances and an enlarged concourse and will create a permanent public plaza at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue.
All the renderings and details ahead
The path for a future Hudson River tunnel is being preserved at Hudson Yards, photo via Amtrak
Update 3/26/18: While Congress on Thursday approved the $1.3 trillion spending bill, the package does not include direct funding for the Gateway tunnel project. Instead, the bill provides $650 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and allocates over $2 billion in available grants for which the Gateway Program Development Corp. can apply. President Donald Trump, who threatened to veto the spending bill if funding for Gateway was included, and his administration will remain in control of Gateway’s funding fate. The Department of Transportation (DOT) said in a statement that the bill “removes preferential treatment for the New York and New Jersey Gateway projects.” And DOT board members, appointed by the president, review all federal grants to Amtrak, as Bloomberg reported.
After months of back-and-forth negotiations among politicians, the Gateway tunnel project might get another chance at survival. The project, which would construct a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repair an existing one, could potentially receive up to $541 million in a tentative $1.3 trillion spending bill drafted by Congress on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. Although the bill does not mention Gateway by name, provides way less than the $900 million planners sought for the project, and has been opposed by both President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, the tentative spending bill has made supporters more hopeful about the project’s future. The bill will go to a vote in the House on Thursday, followed by the Senate.
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Tunnel photo via The Gateway Program Development Corporation; Paul Ryan photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Amtrak and New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor–that which connects the state to Manhattan via the Hudson River tunnels–creates more than $50 billion in economic activity annually. And the region as a whole is home to 30 percent of all U.S. jobs, amounting to $3 trillion a year for the economy. But despite Donald Trump’s eagerness to both stimulate the economy and bring jobs back from overseas, he seems unphased by the dire need to construct a new rail tunnel to replace those built in 1910 that suffered major damage during Hurricane Sandy. According to Politico, in a meeting yesterday with New York and New Jersey Republicans, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear that he will not include the $30 billion Gateway Tunnel project in the upcoming $1 trillion+ omnibus spending package if it means Trump will veto the bill, claiming that the President can’t stop talking about his opposition to what’s largely considered the most important infrastructure project in the nation.
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Photo via The Gateway Program Development Corporation
President Donald Trump on Monday released his $200 billion infrastructure plan and it does not look good for New York and New Jersey. Because the plan shifts the financial burden from the federal government onto states and localities, relying on incentives to spur private investment, major projects will struggle to find funding. This includes the Gateway Tunnel project, a proposal to construct a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repair the existing one. As the only intercity passenger rail crossing into NYC from NJ, the tunnel is a critical link for nearly 200,000 daily passengers. While the Obama administration considered Gateway a priority and committed half of the project’s cost in 2015, the Trump administration has scoffed at the idea.
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