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Gateway Project/NYP Capacity Improvement

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With the expected results of tomorrow's election, is Christie (in his second term) likely to focus more on PATH Extension to Newark Airport or new train tunnels into Manhattan?

 

 

Christie will focus on more highways. And more highways. You expect him to change?

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Guest Andrew

 

There are no Gateway maps that are detailed enough out in public domain for you to be able to reach any conclusion about what parts of ARC is being used and what is not. So no nothing has changed. They never used it in the first place. That is what the guys who draw the detailed plans and diagrams at the PB related Consortium said upon specific questioning during the review of the 7 to Sec proposal. They specifically said that 7 to Sec uses the ARC tunnel alignment in that plan and that does not conflict with Gateway. And as I said they are involved in both.

 

Paperwork refers to EIS, an activity that is not currently funded.

 

 

1. Who is PB partnering with for the Consortium?

 

2. How long is a typical PE--Final Design process for a project such as Gateway or Seven to Secaucus?

 

 

 

If PB is involved with both, than what are they currently doing regarding the Seven to Secaucus and the Gateway Project?

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Guest Andrew

What will be the major reasons why one type of Block 780 Station gets chosen over the other option?

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Guest Andrew

Would potential expensive property acquisitions encourage engineers to seek the "Deep-Level" Option for Penn South?

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Guest Andrew

The article in the Daily News by Jerry Gottesman and Steven Spinola raises some issues worthy of discussion. The article in question can be found at:

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/extend-7-train-secaucus-article-1.1504464

 

It has been stated by some that there would be a funding conflict between any further extension of #7 with all that is already on the plate of MTA. From a funding angle this is not necessarily so. In all likelihood any extension of #7 to Secaucus will not involve any funding from MTA. The funding will come from somewhere else just like the funding for the current #7 extension. It was not from the MTA budget but from the city budget. MTA had basically said it can't be done until Bloomberg gave them a pile of cash and said - go do it, if you want to keep that money. So in principle there is little conflict as far as source of money goes between SAS and ESA etc. and whatever happens at the Hudson end of #7. In all likelihood funding for such a venture would involve the PANYNJ since it is their bailiwick - indeed one of their missions - to provide trans-Hudson transportation links.

 

But that discussion involving only #7 extension belongs in a different thread.

 

However, the primary thing that is proposed in that article actually places it squarely within the scope of this thread. The thing proposed is a combined tunnel with four segments, two of which are used for Amtrak/NJT and two for #7, similar to how the 63rd Street tunnel is set up. However there are technical issues with that. EPA and Army Corp of Engineers have summarily rejected the tunneling method that was used for the 63rd St. tunnel for use in case of Hudson because of the amount of buried environmentally hazardous stuff that sits in the river bed that no one wants to stir up. So using the cut, drop tunnel segments and cover method is out.

 

Given that it has to be a bored tunnel, the difficulty of boring a huge diameter tunnel large enough to encompass four tracks in 2x2 configuration presents its own challenges and cost elements which probably surpasses what it would cost to just bore four separate tunnels. The one with civil engineering in their professional expertise list here, is PRR60. maybe he can give us his perspective on this.

 

Anyway the implicit danger in what is proposed is that it will inevitably lead to possibly another 6 additional years of studies before anything can happen. At present the #7 proposal pretty much reuses the ARC EIS in toto for most of the Hudson tunnel alignment. The Gateway alignment is relatively well understood though still requires an EIS. And the two can proceed independent of each other on different time lines. This proposal mixes both up and puts a completely new and additional thing that must be studied starting from scratch.

 

It is almost like if I was trying to delay everything by many years while appearing to be well intentioned, I'd do something like this. :P

 

Jis stated that, "The Gateway Alignment is well understand though still requires an EIS."

 

1. Is Gateway's Proposed Alignment still expected to enter Manhattan around 30th street (and 12th avenue)?

 

2. Thus, would Gateway still have to go through a typical 3 or 4 year Engineering Study?

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Will the Gateway tunnel ever happen? Amtrak has bet $300 million that it will

Chairman Anthony Coscia said the project's next step, an environmental review, could begin this fall.

Stop us if you've heard this one:

A new train tunnel linking New York and New Jersey, seen by experts as crucial to relieving the bottleneck under the Hudson River, is on the verge of getting underway.

"We're doing it," Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia told the Crain's editorial board Wednesday.

Mr. Coscia said Amtrak could begin the environmental review process this fall, and has already spent about $300 million on preparatory work and land acquisition, even though the estimated $15 billion needed for the larger Gateway project, which includes the tunnel, has not been lined up.

 

 

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Another news item on the need for getting going on the NEC Gateway project. Capital New York: Transportation secretary calls Hudson tunnel inaction ‘almost criminal’. Excerpts:

President Obama's transportation secretary said Tuesday that the region's apparent inability to do anything about the decrepit rail tunnels connecting midtown Manhattan to New Jersey is "almost criminal."

 

"It’s perhaps one of the—if not the—most important project in the country right now that’s not happening," federal transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said, during a panel discussion hosted by the New York Times.

 

Foxx paused for knowing laughter.

 

"It’s really emblematic of where we are right now as a country," he said. "This is tunnels that run between New York and New Jersey. They carry hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people on a weekly basis."

 

 

Amtrak has come up with a successor plan called Gateway, but no one in either the New Jersey nor New York government has taken a lead on the project. Nor does it have the necessary funding.

 

“This is a leadership issue in the region,” Foxx said. “And I can only do what the region’s willing to do.”

 

This isn't the first time a federal official has vented about the region's apparent disregard for what is arguably its most pressing infrastructure need.

Governor Christie and Cuomo, the ball in is your court. How about some leadership? Neither of you are going to be President (nor be selected for either ticket as the Vice-President candidate), so how about working on the infrastructure problems facing your states?

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There is not enough voter pressure to do these projects. POLs would rather kick the can down to future years. When the ultimate failure comes it will be the current POLS that will get the sword. Politics is nasty and it is every one for themselves now not later and what current POLS perceive as in their best interests..

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There is not enough voter pressure to do these projects. POLs would rather kick the can down to future years. When the ultimate failure comes it will be the current POLS that will get the sword. Politics is nasty and it is every one for themselves now not later and what current POLS perceive as in their best interests..

 

Well there needs to get to be voter pressure. Maybe everyone who commutes using the tunnels should stay home from work for a day and tell their bosses why they're doing it. If they don't feel they can stay home from work, they should attempt to commute by car. The resulting monumental traffic jam might cause the business leaders and the politicians to realize that they're playing with fire by risking having the tunnels fall apart.

 

Of course, I'm not sure whether it's possible to make rush hour traffic on the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge any worse than it already is. :(

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Interesting comment about traffic on the bridges and tunnels into the Apple from Jersey !

 

Wonder if Govs Cuomo and Christie and Mayor Blasio would like another "Trafficgate" between NY and NJ?

Edited by jimhudson

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The fact of the matter is that trans Hudson travel and specifically additional rail tunnels is primarily for the benefit of NJ and secondarily for New York. Actually Amtrak could live with the current tunnels for quite a while yet, even with one tunnel out for the general amount of demand it places on the tunnels. Until NJ gets of its thumb up its you know what, nothing will happen, since it really is not going to harm anyone else as much as it will NJ if tunnel outage becomes more prevalent than it already is.

 

I suspect NY will get around to it after it has recovered from its twin big digs - ESA, and SAS. NJ really needs to get its gas tax up to be able to inject considerable amount of money into its transport infrastructure. As soon as they start showing some serious sense of purpose the others will start working with them seriously, but I suspect not much will happen until then. All this means is we have to wait for you know who to exit stage right first. Endless bluster never produced anything concrete.

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If anyone could see the inside of the North Tube, they'd be appalled. I believe Affigatt posted a video of the south tube that pales in comparison.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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JIS: One factor you have not considered. Almost every weekend Amtrak closes say the north tunnel and the next weekend the south tunnel is closed. This is for " emergency " repairs. Now when one tunnel is closed what happens if the other is closed for a weekend ?

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Why would one tunnel be closed for scheduled maintenance when the other is out of service for some other reason, unless both had problems? The tunnels are closed for scheduled maintenance not because they choose to collapse just before the weekend begins. So some catastrophe strikes, If for some reason one tunnel cannot be used, the other will of course not be taken out of service for scheduled maintenance.

 

Now if someone wishes to call "scheduled maintenance" "emergency repair" well. It is not like any of those scheduled maintenance could not be postponed for a week if need be.

 

This is not to belittle the need for a lot of TLC that those tunnels need to keep them in service. But pointless scaremongering does not help anyone's cause.

 

Of course, if north tunnels become unusable simultaneously then all bets are off. but a very reliable source (like the guy in charge of maintaining those, among other things) tells me that such a time is at least 20 to 25 years away and with enough TLC could be postponed even further. Thats is what raises the urgency for getting additional tunnels work started, because such work will take at least 10 years if not more, and the more it is delayed the more critical things become.

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The fact of the matter is that trans Hudson travel and specifically additional rail tunnels is primarily for the benefit of NJ and secondarily for New York. Actually Amtrak could live with the current tunnels for quite a while yet, even with one tunnel out for the general amount of demand it places on the tunnels. Until NJ gets of its thumb up its you know what, nothing will happen, since it really is not going to harm anyone else as much as it will NJ if tunnel outage becomes more prevalent than it already is.

 

I suspect NY will get around to it after it has recovered from its twin big digs - ESA, and SAS. NJ really needs to get its gas tax up to be able to inject considerable amount of money into its transport infrastructure. As soon as they start showing some serious sense of purpose the others will start working with them seriously, but I suspect not much will happen until then. All this means is we have to wait for you know who to exit stage right first. Endless bluster never produced anything concrete.

If NY and the MTA can find the capital funds, Phase 2 of the Second Ave Subway will get started in 4-5 years. So, that will be taking up NY and MTA funding. But, yes, the East Side Access project is sucking up a lot of money and is way behind even the schedules of just a few years ago. If the NEC Gateway project has to wait for ESA to wrap up before getting a significant funding contribution from NY state, that could be a problem.

 

A lot of people get sticker shock at the $15 billion ballpark number for NEC Gateway (the figure I think excludes North Portal bridge, but includes the south Portal, 2 new tracks in NJ, the Hudson tunnels of course, and the NYP south expansion). Worth noting that the combined total of the ESA (current) cost estimate of $10.2 billion and the Port Authority's colossally expensive World Trade Center PATH & subway white dinosaur station at circa $4 billion adds to $14+ billion, close to the cost estimate for NEC Gateway. So it is possible to raise $15 billion for transit and rail projects in or leading to Manhattan, it is just that Amtrak does not have the ability to take the lead on the project by itself. It needs NJ, PANYNJ, the state & city of NY, and the other NEC states to step up to the plate. With NJ as the weak link in this group.

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JIS: My point on the tunnels is Amtrak has stated there is a chance that one of the tunnels might need to closed sooner for a 1 Yr+ stabilization. Then the other tunnel closed on alternate weekends ----------

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Well, Booker's new Amtrak reauthorization proposal includes reinstating Amtrak's NEC profits back onto the Northeast Corridor.

 

Perhaps Amtrak could take out a large RRIF loan which could help contribute to the Gateway Tunnel Resielency Project?

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Well, Booker's new Amtrak reauthorization proposal includes reinstating Amtrak's NEC profits back onto the Northeast Corridor.

 

Perhaps Amtrak could take out a large RRIF loan which could help contribute to the Gateway Tunnel Resielency Project?

That could be part of the funding, but trust me, until NJ puts money on the table it won't happen.

 

Amtrak has pretty much been told by Congress that it will need to use RRIF to get any new equipment. One then needs to look at how Amtrak is able to monetize the tunnel to pay off the additional debt load caused by the tunnel.

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Well, Booker's new Amtrak reauthorization proposal includes reinstating Amtrak's NEC profits back onto the Northeast Corridor.

 

Perhaps Amtrak could take out a large RRIF loan which could help contribute to the Gateway Tunnel Resielency Project?

That could be part of the funding, but trust me, until NJ puts money on the table it won't happen.

 

Amtrak has pretty much been told by Congress that it will need to use RRIF to get any new equipment. One then needs to look at how Amtrak is able to monetize the tunnel to pay off the additional debt load caused by the tunnel.

 

 

New Jersey may not put any money into Gateway until Governor Sleazeball leaves in January of 2018 (assuming that he does not get indicted or beat Trump or Bush for the 2016 Republican Nomination). But, I would put that a future New Jersey TTF may contribute to Gateway, and the Port Authority's John Degnan has said that the Port Authority will help get Gateway started...

 

Booker's RIFIA proposal includes pushing back the repayment period to 50 years (from the current 35 for RRIF).

 

I also think that the Tunnel Box extension in Manhattan will get funded regardless of the state of the economy next year or in 2017.

 

When you say new equipment, are you referring to fleet replacement, such as new Acela Express Trainsets, or the Gateway Project?

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Yeah I am sure PA will come up with three to four billion like they did for ARC.

 

Yeah, new equipment is fleet replacement and enhancement.

Edited by jis

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Yeah I am sure PA will come up with three to four billion like they did for ARC.

 

Yeah, new equipment is fleet replacement and enhancement.

 

It is my understanding that Governor Sleazeball and Governor Cuomo both called for the Port Authority to sell real-estate to help fund transportation improvements. Besides a new PA Bus Terminal in Manhattan, I believe that the Port Authority is also looking at funding Gateway...

 

I still say that RIFIA will play a part in funding Gateway.

 

Do you think that the next major federal transportation bill will include Gateway funding?

 

Amtrak could monetize the new hudson tunnels by raising commuter rail fees--throughout the Northeast Corridor--just as will be happening this October 1st and I believe in 2018.

Edited by Andrew

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Amtrak does not get to determine fees. The NEC Council does. Amtrak just does what the Council decides. It's hands are tied. It is not a free agent any more as far as that goes. The states have to essentially agree to pay for it either lump sum up front or in dribs and drabs over 30 years, or some combination thereof. I am not sure that there is too much room for raising fares specially on NJT much more. Mr powder puff has stretched things quite to the limit.

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Amtrak does not get to determine fees. The NEC Council does. Amtrak just does what the Council decides. It's hands are tied. It is not a free agent any more as far as that goes. The states have to essentially agree to pay for it either lump sum up front or in dribs and drabs over 30 years, or some combination thereof. I am not sure that there is too much room for raising fares specially on NJT much more. Mr powder puff has stretched things quite to the limit.

 

What do you think will happen then with regards to the Gateway Project?

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Remember NJ is a member of the NEC Council which determines the charges.

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