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Passenger Trains > Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway


Date: 11/19/22 23:19
Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: GenePoon

When you’re in a hole...: N.J. and N.Y. need to get the message to stop digging on Gateway

Editorial Board, New York Daily News
Fri, November 18, 2022

The Federal Railroad Administration, charged with dividing up $24 billion Congress set aside for Northeast Corridor passenger rail upgrades in the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law a year this week, is following its usual course and favoring Amtrak over the state-run commuter lines stretching from Boston to D.C. that carry 95% of the passengers.

Maybe FRA really stands for Fabulous Relief for Amtrak. It’s showering the pipsqueak national railroad, which carries just 5% of the passengers, with all the money they want.
Most galling is that funds for fixing Penn Station — the country’s busiest depot — are a low priority, called Bucket 2.

Bucket 1 has the Amtrak wishlist.

What is useful in the FRA documents published this week is a new accounting for Amtrak’s bloated Gateway boondoggle. For years, while we complained that the full suite of Gateway components (all of which are needed to even boost capacity by a single passenger) was $30 billion, they said we were wrong — it hadn’t been priced.  In May 2021, using Amtrak’s own Fiscal Year 2022 General and Legislative Annual Report to Congress, we said it came to $33.7 billion.  Now the ledgers show the nine Gateway pieces totaling $39,950,000,000.   Add to that $40 billion a separate $7.1 billion for fixing Penn and you are closing in on $50 billion. It gets higher still if other related New Jersey/New York pieces are included.

We’ve used the label Lateway to signify the 2038 completion date. By then, the $50 billion could easily rise to $75 billion or more.  Yet the bistate Gateway Development Commission, which meets today, is still refusing to drive the costs down by repairing the current Hudson tunnel while it remains in use — as has been proven to work in the subways.   Doing away with an unneeded expanded Penn Station south of 31st St., which would plow under homes and businesses, could chop $11 billion off the price.   Instead, like the FRA, the Gateway commission listens only to Amtrak. Why? Why not put the states, their commuters and taxpayers first?

https://news.yahoo.com/hole-n-j-n-y-090000573.html



Date: 11/20/22 04:00
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: joemvcnj

Very stupid and uninformed editorial. Gateway is in fact being built mostly for NJT commuters. Federal funds are coming from the FTA, which does not fund Amtrak capital projects and Amtrak is not the lead agency. Repairing the tunnels while in service with only weekends and overnight closures are impossible given their extent of damage. Making comparisons with how the Canarsie subway tunnels were repaired is ridiculous where there is high voltage catenary and power lines. Even they were totally shut one at a time for months on end. Everything stated in the editorial has been professionally refuted numerous times.

I happen to know who the blind author is of this series of editorials. He is known as a disruptive jerk throughout the MTA, NJT, and Amtrak, and was all but fired by LIRR about 20 years ago. Jamaica office had a celebratory party right after he departed. Think Joe Vranich 2.0. I also know the two of the civil engineers who designed Gateway 12 years ago, sat through their PPT demos several times, and I know what they think of this author, hence the author's spiteful attitude of Amtrak. 

He dismisses Penn Station South as "unnecessary", which replaced "Macys Bunker" of the defunct ARC plan (though is inter-operable through all 4 tunnels), when in fact it is solely for NJT's use and permits 18 more trains per hour en toto; without which there would be just 2. So he has totally forgotten what the Gateway project is all about or else thinks someday they will still barge through and commandeer part of the GCT Lower Level. Dream on - physically impossible to both build and operate too. That option was declared dead about 20 years ago. 
 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/22 07:30 by joemvcnj.



Date: 11/20/22 05:45
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: kjmk

Anybody remember Tom Paxton's song "Daily News" from the mid-60's? Not much has changed.



Date: 11/20/22 06:35
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: ronald321

I agree, this is a very stupid editorial.

It's true, the Infrastructure Law gave Amtrak all the money they could possibly want --  ($66B)
but, that was the intent of Congress in writing the Law the way they did.  Commuter roads, light rail, etc.,
got their own separate funding under the Law.

The real stupidity, is Amtrak management hasn't ask for a dime of this money.



Date: 11/20/22 08:23
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: Passfanatic

Gateway will mainly benefit NJT passengers in the way that there would likely be more daily express trains from outlying points. For example, I would certainly see the majority of NJT trains that originate in Dover run as an express between Summit and NWK Broad St and then for every Dover Express train that stops in Summit, there would be a local originating in Summit and making all stops between Summit and NWK Broad St. Both those trains would go to NYC. On the North Jersey Coast Line, passengers living in diesel country would get a lot more direct trains to NYP that could do this: A. either make limited stops between NWK and Long Branch like Elizabeth, Rahway, Woodbridge, Aberdeen-Matawan, Red Bank, and Long Branch and then make all local stops to Bay Head. There would be a local train making all stops from NWK to Long Branch. B. Bay Head train would make all stops to Aberdeen-Matawan, and then run express to NWK and passengers who live in the Amboys, Woodbridge, Avenel, Rahway, Linden, and Elizabeth would get a local train. The Raritan Valley Line would finally have every train run to and from NYP.

The project will benefit Amtrak a lot as well. That would enable Amtrak to run the state supported routes to Scranton, Allentown, and Reading. In addition, Amtrak would be able to run more trains on the NEC entirely. There is an eventual plan to add more Acelas during peak travel times.



Date: 11/20/22 08:44
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: UP951West

Is any repair work being done at present on the bad portions of the Hudson Tunnels ? Can the tunnels be repaired in time before they become too hazardous ? ( I live way out west so I know little about NYC . ) Thank you. 



Date: 11/20/22 08:57
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: joemvcnj

Yes, they often work on the tunnels on weekends, doing what they can do. A few years ago, a large chuck of benchwall collapsed. Riding through, the track is very smooth at 60MPH. On weekends, trains are fleeted in one direction or the other each hour for a 25 minute period: 3 Amtrak + 5 NJT slots, every 3 minutes.  

East River tunnels line 1 & 2 will each get shut for a year or so during 2024 -2026. That means cut LIRR rush hour service, not that traumatic once Grand Central Madison opens, either in December or March (nobody knows yet). They have undamged lines 3 & 4 to fall back on. But not all tunnels lead to all NYPS tracks.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/22 09:00 by joemvcnj.



Date: 11/20/22 09:59
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: pdt

I got as far as "Editorial Board, NY Daily News".   LOL.    Its the "newspaper" for ppl who cant read. (or think, for that matter)



Date: 11/20/22 10:04
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: joemvcnj

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I got as far as "Editorial Board, NY Daily
> News".   LOL.    Its the "newspaper" for ppl
> who cant read. (or think, for that matter)

We were told in 6th grade in New York that it is deliberately written at a 4th grade reading level, competing with the New York Mirror. 



Date: 11/20/22 19:12
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: ProAmtrak

ronald321 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I agree, this is a very stupid editorial.
>
> It's true, the Infrastructure Law gave Amtrak all
> the money they could possibly want --  ($66B)
> but, that was the intent of Congress in writing
> the Law the way they did.  Commuter roads, light
> rail, etc.,
> got their own separate funding under the Law.
>
> The real stupidity, is Amtrak management hasn't
> ask for a dime of this money.

Because they don't want to improve Amtrak on what's required, they want to stick with the corridor only mindset!



Date: 11/21/22 06:19
Re: Editorial: NJ, NY need to get message stop digging on Gateway
Author: Jishnu

Amtrak got quite a bit of money. But the $66B for Amtrak is fake narrative. Appropriated funds specifically for Amtrak is much less, something in the $30 Billion range that too over several years. There is a bunch of authorized money that may or may not get appropriated down the line, and there is a hunk of money for rail infrastructure improvement in generl whihc Amtrak may be able to capture some part of, but not all.



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