Thursday, January 15, 2015
By Scott Gurian
Thursday, November 29, 2012
By Kate Hinds
At an emotional hearing today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, senators representing storm-damaged states described the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said his state was the "epicenter" of the storm. He listed Sandy's toll upon New Jersey -- 39 dead, 231,000 homes and businesses damaged. And included in his list: the impact of the storm upon the region's transit system.
"The storm was the largest mass transit disaster in our nation's history. Four out of 10 of the nation's transit riders had their commutes disrupted by the storm, many still today," said Menendez. "NJ Transit alone had dozens of locomotives and rail cars damaged in the flooding and miles and miles of tracks damaged."
New Jersey is requesting $37 billion in federal disaster aid, of which $1.35 billion would go to transit, roads and bridges.
Watch the archived hearing here.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The totality of the damage done to New Jersey Transit by Hurricane Sandy can't be fully ascertained at this point, but the list on the agency's website is daunting.
Rail lines have suffered catastrophically: washouts, downed trees, waterlogged equipment, and track damage. The iconic Hoboken Ferry Terminal is flooded. The agency reports that even the Rail Operations Center--"the central nervous system of the railroad"--is engulfed in water. Although most bus service returned Thursday, nine of its bus garages continue to operate on back-up generator power. And in a letter requesting federal aid, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez write: "the only passenger rail tunnel into New York City—which connects thousands of people to the city each day—is shut down."
Earlier this week, Governor Christie said it could take seven to 10 days to resume PATH train service.
There is no timeline for resumption of rail service. The agency says it is continuing to inspect the system and that "the blow delivered by Hurricane Sandy will continue to impact customers for days to come."
Thursday, April 19, 2012
By Kate Hinds
A new trans-Hudson tunnel got a $20 million vote of confidence Thursday -- but it remains to be seen whether it will win approval in political environment riven by dissent over transportation funding.
The Gateway tunnel project-- deemed "absolutely critical" by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a hearing last month -- was proposed last year as an alternative to the ARC tunnel, a similar project cancelled by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2010.
According to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who 's trying to bring a new rail tunnel to fruition, Gateway is expected to increase Amtrak and NJ Transit's capacity into New York by 65 percent.
Both New Jersey senators have thrown their support behind the project. “The Gateway Tunnel is critical to addressing our state's transportation crisis,” said Lautenberg in an emailed statement. Senator Robert Menendez, also quoted in the email, added: “We are at capacity on all Hudson River crossings, so the Gateway Project is simply essential to New Jersey’s economic growth and for our commuters."
Lautenberg is smarting over the ARC tunnel. At a Senate hearing yesterday, he testily asked a Port Authority executive: "Why did the administration that we have in office now cancel $6 billion worth of money that we raised through this place to build a tunnel and get 22,000 cars off the road?"
If the $20 million wins full Senate approval, Amtrak will have a total of $35 million to begin design and engineering work on Gateway. In November 2011, the Senate approved $15 million for the project. Amtrak had initially requested $50 million for a design and engineering study.