Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) today announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has completed its environmental review process for the Hudson River Mass Transit Tunnel project. Here is some information from their release:
With train traffic into New York at maximum capacity, the tunnel project would double commuter rail capacity between New Jersey and New York and improve rail service across the Garden State and reduce congestion on roadways.
The existing 100-year-old commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River only has two tracks that are pushed to their functional limits each rush hour with NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak trains. The Mass Transit Tunnel will more than double peak capacity from 23 trains per hour to 48.
In addition to two new side-by-side single-track tunnels, the project will create new station capacity in Manhattan designed specifically for commuter rail service with wider platforms and more escalators. The new tracks will provide direct access to NYC subway lines, PATH trains and existing Penn Station services.
The project will also create one-seat (direct) commutes to New York for NJ TRANSIT customers on seven commuter rail lines – Main/Bergen County, Port Jervis, Pascack Valley, Montclair-Boonton west of Montclair State University, Morris & Essex west of Dover, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast south of Long Branch, as well as future rail expansion lines.
“I support the Mass Transit Tunnel project because it provides a path to short- and long-term economic benefits and helps us advance toward our national objective of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels as we build capacity in renewable, environmentally friendly energy resources,” said Sen. Robert Menendez.
“This federal approval marks a giant step forward for this transit project of regional and national significance,” said Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “With this approval in place we now look forward to receiving the federal funds necessary for putting shovels in the ground in 2009 and helping our regional economy in this critical time.”
The release of a “Record of Decision” by the FTA officially completes the project’s environmental review process. Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez worked to ensure that FTA agency officials considered the project fairly and in a timely fashion.
The local financing share of $5.7 billion for the tunnel project is already committed, including $3 billion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. New Jersey is now looking for a federal funding commitment to complete the project from the Obama Administration, which Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez are working to secure.