Whether any of us live to see Amtrak’s Gateway Tunnel become a reality remains to be seen, but it has a few champions in Washington and an assist from Superstorm Sandy. Senator Chuck Schumer, who has recently adopted the cause, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will deliver the $185 million Amtrak has requested to preserve space in the Hudson Yards area for two more Hudson River rail tunnels. The money is part of the Sandy relief and fortification funds.
Specifically, the money will go toward an 800-foot-long tunnel box between 10th and 11th Avenues that will carve out the right-of-way for a pair of flood-resistant rail tubes. Without his money, Related Companies’ construction at the Hudson Yards would have moved forward blocking the opportunity to build Gateway for the foreseeable future. Last week, though, Amtrak, the LIRR and Related Companies reached an agreement on the construction of the tunnel box, and the federal dollars assure progress will go forward, inch by inch.
“When Sandy flooded our tunnels it exposed a fatal flaw in our already maxed-out transit infrastructure and demonstrated beyond a doubt we needed a new flood-resistant train-tunnel into and out of Manhattan. This project will build the gate in the ‘Gateway’ tunnel and secures the future of rail for New York City and all of the Northeast Corridor, making our rail infrastructure more efficient and much more flood resistant from storms like Sandy,” Schumer said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is the first step of a long-term mitigation investment in New York. I am pleased that Secretary LaHood will award this much-needed funding to preserve a path for new train tunnels into Manhattan.”