Menendez Announces A Federal Commitment To The New Hudson Mass Transit Tunnel

Menendez Announces A Federal Commitment To The New Hudson Mass Transit Tunnel

President's FY2010 budget includes priority designation for tunnel, along with $200 million

Washington - President Obama's FY2010 budget, to be released today, will include a firm commitment from the federal government to the mass transit tunnel across the Hudson along with $200 million for the project, according to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In a conversation with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today, Menendez was informed that the budget provides for an Early Systems Work Agreement, signaling full federal support of the project, and will receive the $200 million under the pool of money for high priority transit projects included in the economic recovery package passed earlier this year.

Menendez, who has helped secure millions of federal dollars for this project, is the Chairman of the Banking Committee's Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Urban Development, which oversees mass transit funding issues. He had personally pressed Secretary LaHood before was confirmed by the Senate for funding and an Early Systems Work Agreement. He has also discussed this issue with the nominee to head the Federal Transit Administration, whose nomination is currently before the Banking Committee.

"A firm commitment from the administration on this project means that it's going forward, full speed ahead," said Senator Menendez. "This is a project that will create jobs in this tough employment environment, will help save time and money for commuters and will help clean our air. These are all components for an economic recovery and for laying the foundation for our families' economic security. Having pressed administration transportation officials for this designation, they know that I think this was a wise move, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that we have the investments necessary to get this tunnel completed."

Menendez, who while in the US House of Representatives represented the Congressional District through which this tunnel will run, has been a long-time proponent of the tunnel and has pressed the federal government for its support.

The tunnel is expected to create 44,000 permanent jobs, in addition to 6,00 construction jobs. 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.