Senate Committee approves $20M for Gateway planningBy
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled the ARC Tunnel, a few projects rushed in to the fill the void. We know the 7 train to Secaucus won’t happen any time soon, but Amtrak’s Gateway Tunnel seems to have legs. Projected today to cost $14.5 billion and still an optimistic decade away from seeing the light of day, Gateway is nonetheless moving through Congress.
As NorthJersey.com’s Karen Rouse reported, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a $20 million grant for preliminary design and engineering work. The measure still must clear the full House and Senate, but transit advocates are cautiously optimistic. “It’s the most promising rail project at the moment,” Veronica Vanterpool of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said. That’s not saying much as after preliminary engineering work, the price tag for Gateway has jumped by $1 billion and the estimated completion date has moved from 2020 to 2025.
Gateway is of course part of an intercity high-speed rail network that could change long-distance commuting patterns in the northeast. It’s not quite a solution to commuter issues that current plague New Jersey Transit. Plus, someone will have to come up with those billions of dollars, and New York and New Jersey aren’t rushing to embrace this project. It may not have much of a long-term future, but for now, planning may move forward.