NEC: Gateway Program Meeting with Trump ‘Productive,’ Amtrak CEO


MassTransitMag.com via California Rail News

Sept. 12–Amtrak CEO Tony Coscia on Tuesday described last week’s joint meeting with the Trump administration on the Gateway Program as “very productive,” but warned that costs to build new rail tunnels under the Hudson River would balloon if funding isn’t secured soon…
The $24 billion Gateway Program would dig a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, expand Penn Station and build new bridges to better connect Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. While replacing debilitated infrastructure, the program would also improve capacity for the growing number of people making the cross-Hudson commute. Those commuters will be on New Jersey Transit, not Amtrak.

For starters, Antony Coscia is not a CEO of Amtrak, he is Chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors. Before that he was Chairman of the Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority is responsible for building and maintaining most of the transportation infrastructure in the New York City Metro area. It is also a major player in the Gateway Project.

What else could be built for $24 billion dollars? That’s roughly the cost in California for about 300 miles of High Speed Rail between Bakersfield and San Francisco. So far the Federal Government has given $3.2 billion for California High Speed Rail and there are few expectations it will approve any more. How much money will the Gateway Project cost US Taxpayer? The Port Authority is self funded, it makes money on bridge tolls and as a landlord: it owned the original World Trade Center and now its replacement as well as other commercial buildings. It has the power to raise bonds for construction projects to be serviced from the Authority’s income. However many of its properties such as LaGuadia airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal among other have been allowed to become rundown. Many people would like to know where the Port Authority’s money is going too. The Port Authority is often called the private piggy bank of the Governors of New York and New Jersey since there is no legislative oversight over its spending. The projected cost of the Gateway Project in 2011 was $13.5 billion. Now it’s $24 billion and we are being warned the price will go up if financing isn’t secured soon?

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