Amtrak CEO: Gateway Tunnel “critical” to high speed rail effort

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman testified today that the development of the Gateway Tunnel is “critical” to the effort to bring high-spped rail to the Northeast Corridor.

The Gateway Tunnel project would add two new rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York City.  These tunnels, which could be completed in 2020, would significantly increase commuter train capacity by allowing NJ Transit to add an additional 13 trains per peak hour into New York City and it would increase the number of Amtrak trains into New York City by eight per hour.

During a hearing Senate Appropriations Commitee hearing on Amtrak’s budget today U.S. Sen. frank Lautenberg questioned Boardman on the importance of the tunnel, which was conceived as an alternative to the ARC Tunnel scuttled by Gov. Chris Christie last year.

Boardman told Lautenberg that “we’re out of capacity in the Northeast Corridor.”

“We cannot add, especially in Penn Station,” he said.  “We have nowhere to put the NJ Transit trains that come into Penn Station. Capacity is really beginning to constrain the ability to add service and the fluidity of high-speed service. If we are really going to have high-speed service that works…we need not have New York be any more of a bottle neck than it already is.”

Amtrak CEO: Gateway Tunnel “critical” to high speed rail effort