Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Amtrak announced plans for a new “Gateway Project” to replace the ill-fated “Access to the Region’s Core (ARC).” The name is an immediate upgrade! The motivation remains the same:
The existing 100-year old rail tunnels into midtown Manhattan are already operating at capacity during rush hour, and ridership is expected to double in the next two decades.
The Gateway Project is expected to increase NJ Transit commuter rail capacity into New York by 65 percent (increase from 20 to 33 trains per hour during peak hours). The new tunnels will connect to the new Moynihan station as well as to a new Penn Station South that is connected to the existing New York Penn station, which has reached its capacity.
I think this map from today’s Gateway presentation (PDF) is very helpful:
As the map shows, notice how much of the work is in New Jersey. That’s something you wouldn’t know from Governor’s Christie’s talk. The Portal Bridge needs to be completely replaced, because it is just too low and too narrow. This plan makes use of much of the existing ARC work. (I wonder, but this is just baseless speculation, if going ahead with it would let New Jersey off the hook gracefully for the money we owe the federal government.)
The subway plan gets a tunnel across the Hudson but it does nothing for Amtrak and nothing for New Jersey Transit. That’s where a lot of these costs are.