HUDSON COUNTY -- The U.S. Senate approved $15 million in design and engineering funds for a new Amtrak tunnel that will reduce commuter congestion with two new rail lines from Secaucus to New York, according to news reports.
The $13.5 billion project would take close to 10 years to complete and must be approved by the House in order to move forward.
The plan has received bipartisan support from Gov. Chris Christie and from Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.
"It is a great thing for our residents and for this entire region,” said Secaucus Mayor Micheal Gonnelli in response to the new tunnel. “It can entice more businesses to come here [and] it can be a boon for that entire development area.”
But he felt a bit left out.
“On the other hand, someone should have given us a phone call – it is our town," he said. "We need to be kept in the loop of what transpires in our community.”
Gonnelli said that Secaucus is responsible for providing fire and EMS to the area and anticipates the new rail will have an impact on traffic.
“There will be more people getting to that station [and] more buses going to that station. The bulk of impact will go to Secaucus. We should be consulted at least to see if in fact the roads need to be upgraded,” said Gonnelli.
The approval came after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently re-launched efforts last week to build a similar tunnel to extend the NY Subway 7 train from the East Side of Manhattan to Secaucus, an idea Christie supported, stating the effort is more of a partnership than the proposed ARC rail tunnel he scrapped a year ago. Christie cancelled the $8.7 billion ARC tunnel project, which was supposed to run through Hudson County into New York City, because he projected overruns up to $5.3 billion above the initial cost.
Meanwhile, with the attention about the 7 subway train possibly extending to Hudson County, Hoboken-based Assemblyman Ruben Ramos said last week in a Hoboken Reporter letter that he'd like the subway to stop in Hoboken, too (click on letters, top of this page).