Following several days of rail service interruptions along Amtrak‘s Northeast Corridor, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Monday asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to meet to discuss plans to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
In a letter obtained by The New York Times, Foxx upheld Amtrak’s Gateway Project to create two new tubes under the river as the only “credible concept” to build a new tunnel, and added that he is willing to explore federal financial assistance for the project.
Foxx noted that the Obama administration had recently set aside $185 million for the Gateway Project under the Hudson Yards development in Manhattan.
The project would double the current train capacity under the river and would enable repair of the existing 105-year-old tunnel, Foxx said.
“Neither Amtrak nor your individual States, acting alone, can replace these tunnels,” Foxx wrote in the letter. “It will take all of us working together.”
Prior to Foxx’s letter, Christie last week released a statement demanding a greater level of accountability from Amtrak. He cited the national passenger railroad’s “abject neglect” of infrastructure in the region among the reasons for the delays.
“We have tried again and again to work cooperatively with Amtrak to resolve these issues, but in the face of this repeated and unacceptable failure, I am calling on the Obama administration and Congress to step up to their responsibility to the people of New Jersey and to the largest and most important regional infrastructure system in the nation,” Christie said in the statement.
Christie said he has asked New Jersey’s attorney general to review the matter to see what recourse the state has to ensure that its funding of Amtrak is being used properly.
Through a spokesman, the New Jersey governor has since said he would be willing to meet with Foxx and Cuomo, according to The New York Times