Amtrak officials applied for $1.3 billion in federal high-speed rail funds that was rejected by Florida officials and instead will be spent on projects on the busy Northeast Corridor line, including some preliminary work on the construction of new Hudson River rail tunnels.
Some of the proposed projects, including the replacement of a 100-year-old bridge over the Hackensack River and improving track and overhead wires, will benefit NJ Transit riders.
Included in the $1.3 billion are two jobs directly related to the Gateway Tunnel project:
A $720 million project to replace the century-old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey with a new high-level fixed bridge. The Amtrak request for $570 million counts on $150 million in funding from New Jersey. The bridge is a major bottleneck for NJ Transit and Amtrak trains when it gets stuck in the open position.
Preliminary engineering and environmental analysis, estimated to cost $188 million, for two new tunnels under the Hudson River into Manhattan with related infrastructure improvements, and $50 million for similar work to develop a new Penn Station South facility to accommodate more tracks and platforms in midtown Manhattan.
Plans call for upgrading electrical power, signal systems and overhead wires on the corridor between New Brunswick and Morrisville, Pa., to improve reliability, increase speeds up to 160 mph and support more frequent high-speed service. The project also would reconfigure track switches at the western entrance to Penn Station New York to ease train congestion issues.
A decision last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation to designate the corridor as a high-speed rail corridor allows Amtrak to apply directly for the funding.