Amtrak is seeking $1.3 billion of federal high-speed rail funds to help build two new train tunnels under the Hudson River, linking New Jersey and New York, and expand high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor.
After Florida Gov. Rick Scott in mid-February rejected $2.4 billion of federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funds, officials in other jurisdictions have been looking to tap into them.
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., last week praised Amtrak for requesting the rail funds and pledged his support.
“Rail transportation is critical to the economic success of New Jersey and all of the Northeast Corridor, and these projects will benefit our commuters, businesses, and families,” Lautenberg said in a statement.
Democratic lawmakers in early February announced a $13.5 billion plan called the Gateway Project to build two new passenger rail tunnels between New Jersey and Manhattan. When completed in 2020, the new tunnels would add 13 additional New Jersey Transit trains during peak hours and increase Amtrak’s capacity by eight trains per hour.
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor links Boston, New York, Philadelphia, the District of Columbia, and other cities. The rail line serves more than 250 million passengers each year and offers high-speed rail service on Acela Express.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also looking to grab federal high-speed rail funds.
The governor last week requested $517 million of such funds for eight different projects. The largest portion, $295 million, would help finance a two-mile bypass route to relieve congestion between Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad, which causes delays along the Northeast Corridor.
Another $112 million would build a new high-capacity signal system between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie and ease congestion along the corridor.
Other projects would improve service between Albany and New York City and upgrade train stations.