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Thread: High Speed Rail - Amtrak Northeast Corridor

  1. #16
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  3. #18
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Duh!

    Mar 12, 2015 METROPOLIS
    Hudson River Train Tunnels Wanted But Needs Money and a Plan: Officials

    By ANDREW TANGEL


    Amtrak’s North River tunnels connect Amtrak’s New Jersey lines to Manhattan. Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

    A top federal transportation official on Thursday expressed support for digging new passenger rail tunnels under the Hudson River, as the current aging ones irk commuters with delays between New York and New Jersey.

    But Peter Rogoff, the U.S. undersecretary of transportation for policy, cited two major hurdles in jump-starting a tunnel project: money and coordination among various government agencies.

    “We would like to get on with it, but we are going to need funding growth to be able to address those kinds of projects,” Mr. Rogoff said.

    Mr. Rogoff, who was in New York City for a meeting Thursday of the region’s top transportation officials, touted the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016 proposed budget that calls for billions of dollars of additional funding for transportation projects across the country.

    Amtrak’s proposed “Gateway” project, which includes the tunnels and other major upgrades, is estimated to cost $15 billion to $20 billion, a steep price tag in an era of tight budgets.

    “For a project of this size and scope, you need a game-changing pot of funding specifically for construction,” Mr. Rogoff said.

    Mr. Rogoff pointed to the president’s proposed budget, which includes about $50 billion in funding over six years that could potentially fund a tunnel project.

    Top transportation officials in New York and New Jersey have been holding informal meetings about the Amtrak project in recent months. The talks have included Amtrak officials, and Mr. Rogoff has said federal transportation officials have also taken part.

    The current two tunnels are more than a century old, and Amtrak has said it might need to shut them down for major repairs in the coming years, potentially choking rail traffic along the East Coast.

    The discussions have signaled fresh attention to the rail transportation network between the two states after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug on another tunnel project in 2010.

    The estimated $8.7 billion project was known as “Access to the Region’s Core,” or ARC. At the time, Mr. Christie said he was worried New Jersey taxpayers would be on the hook for that project’s cost overruns.

    Mr. Rogoff said state officials would still need to finish hammering out their plans to fund a new tunnel project.

    “This project is not currently funded because we only get to the point of requesting those construction dollars when we have a fully baked project and the funding partners have all of their contributions nailed down,” Mr. Rogoff said following his speech at a meeting of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. “Well, we don’t have nailed-down contributions from either New York or New Jersey on funding their portion of the construction, so we wouldn’t put it in our budget it until we did.”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2015...s/?mod=WSJBlog

  4. #19
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    $15-20B complete waste of money. You can get a 7 train extension to New Jersey for less than 1/6th of that price and have a much greater impact on the NYC Metro economy

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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonGecko View Post
    $15-20B complete waste of money. You can get a 7 train extension to New Jersey for less than 1/6th of that price and have a much greater impact on the NYC Metro economy
    But the Tunnels are for High Speed and Intercity Service , along with Regional Rail. That project also includes a Penn Station expansion , a New Bridge over the Hackensack and Upgrades the Kearny JCT. The 7 does nothing but shift the problem. Its just politicians once again not knowing anything about Regional Transportation needs opening their mouths. Some of it is due to Real Estate money influence...

  6. #21

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    And the worst part? If they started tomorrow morning it would be more than 10 years before a tunnel (and the connections to it) would be complete.

  7. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
    But the Tunnels are for High Speed and Intercity Service ,
    Yeah, that's right.

    A subway across the Hudson is fine for - getting people across the Hudson; but it does nothing to address rail problems throughout the corridor.

  8. #23
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    Also NJT and Amtrak store the NEC trains in Sunnyside which is also used for turning things around. So ending trains at Secaucus would be a band-aid solution which we all know in this region is a bad idea.

  9. #24
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Sell Land For Tunnel

    Sell $3B in real estate to fund new Hudson River rail tunnel, top Dem tells Port Authority

    By Larry Higgs | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
    on March 17, 2015 at 1:45 PM, updated March 17, 2015 at 2:18 PM


    State senate president Stephen M. Sweeney today called for the Port Authority to sell off $3 billion in real estate holdings to help fund a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. (Amanda Marzullo/NJ Advance Media)

    NEWARK -- State senate president Steve Sweeney called on the Port Authority to sell at least $3 billion in real estate to help fund construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel.

    Sweeney, who made the public call at a Newark Penn Station press conference today, said he spoke to Port Authority chairman John Degnan about the idea.

    "He recognized the need," Sweeney said. "We need to send a message to Amtrak and the federal government we're willing to work to come up with a funding component."

    Sweeney was flanked by leading Democratic lawmakers, transportation experts who all called on the Port Authority to sell real estate to fund Amtrak's Gateway Tunnel project.

    "This proposal is seed money," said State senator Paul Sarlo, chairman of the senate transportation committee. "By divesting real estate, it provides the seed money for Gateway."

    Sweeney said he did not have specific Port Authority properties in mind to be sold. Sarlo said he would look to Port Authority commissioners to identify property to sell.

    The cost of having one of the existing 100 year old Hudson River tunnels close down would be disastrous to the bi-state economy, Sweeney said.

    Divesting some of it's real estate assets was a recommendation of a special panel which looked into Port Authority reforms, said Martin Robins, Director Emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Institute at Rutgers.

    "We need the Port Authority and the state to step forward and show Amtrak and the Federal Government we're ready to participate. This could do that."

    Amtrak proposed the Gateway Tunnel project in early 2011 after Gov. Chris Christie cancelled the Access to the Regions Core tunnel in October 2010.

    Larry Higgs may be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @commutinglarry. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201...l#incart_river

  10. #25
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    Some NEC progress taken from yesterday

    High Speed Crossovers


    High Speed Crossovers
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr

    New Poles


    014
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr

    New Pole Pieces


    015
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr


    016
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr

    More Concrete track segments


    017
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr

    on the PA side


    Northeast Corridor in Levittown,PA
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr


    Northeast Corridor in Levittown,PA
    by Nexis4Jersey09, on Flickr

  11. #26

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    Regarding the Amtrak accident in Philadelphia a few days ago, former PA governor Ed Rendell was at the scene, and noted that the House voted to cut funding for Amtrak just a few hours after the derailment. He recalled testifying at Congress about transportation funding while he was governor:
    Senator Shelby said, 'Well governor, you’re asking us to subsidize Amtrak.' I said, 'Senator, there isn’t a rail system in the world that isn’t subsidized.
    From the following article:
    fifty years ago, the train from New York to Washington was much faster than it is now


    The Plot Against Trains

    By Adam Gopnik


    PHOTOGRAPH BY ELLIOTT ERWITT/MAGNUM

    The horrific Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia this week set off some predictable uncertainty about what exactly had happened—a reckless motorman? An inadequate track? A missing mechanical device? Some combination of them all?—and an even more vibrant set of arguments about the failure of Americans to build any longer for the common good. Everyone agrees that our rail system is frail and accident-prone: one tragedy can end the service up and down the entire path from Boston to Washington, and beyond, for days on end. And everyone knows that American infrastructure—what used to be called our public works, or just our bridges and railways, once the envy of the world—has now been stripped bare, and is being stripped ever barer.

    What is less apparent, perhaps, is that the will to abandon the public way is not some failure of understanding, or some nearsighted omission by shortsighted politicians. It is part of a coherent ideological project. As I wrote a few years ago, in a piece on the literature of American declinism, “The reason we don’t have beautiful new airports and efficient bullet trains is not that we have inadvertently stumbled upon stumbling blocks; it’s that there are considerable numbers of Americans for whom these things are simply symbols of a feared central government, and who would, when they travel, rather sweat in squalor than surrender the money to build a better terminal.” The ideological rigor of this idea, as absolute in its way as the ancient Soviet conviction that any entering wedge of free enterprise would lead to the destruction of the Soviet state, is as instructive as it is astonishing. And it is part of the folly of American “centrism” not to recognize that the failure to run trains where we need them is made from conviction, not from ignorance.

    There is a popular notion at large, part of a sort of phantom “bi-partisan” centrist conviction, that the degradation of American infrastructure, exemplified by the backwardness of our trains and airports, too, is a failure of the American political system. We all should know that it is bad to have our trains crowded and wildly inefficient—as Michael Tomasky points out, fifty years ago, the train from New York to Washington was much faster than it is now—but we lack the political means or will to cure the problem. In fact, this is a triumph of our political system, for what is politics but a way of enforcing ideological values over merely rational ones? If we all agreed on common economic welfare and pursued it logically, we would not need politics at all: we could outsource our problems to a sort of Saint-Simonian managerial class, which would do the job for us.

    What an ideology does is give you reasons not to pursue your own apparent rational interest—and this cuts both ways, including both wealthy people in New York who, out of social conviction, vote for politicians who are more likely to raise their taxes, and poor people in the South who vote for those devoted to cutting taxes on incomes they can never hope to earn. There is no such thing as false consciousness. There are simply beliefs that make us sacrifice one piece of self-evident interest for some other, larger principle.

    What we have, uniquely in America, is a political class, and an entire political party, devoted to the idea that any money spent on public goods is money misplaced, not because the state goods might not be good but because they would distract us from the larger principle that no ultimate good can be found in the state. Ride a fast train to Washington today and you’ll start thinking about national health insurance tomorrow.

    The ideology of individual autonomy is, for good or ill, so powerful that it demands cars where trains would save lives, just as it places assault weapons in private hands, despite the toll they take in human lives. Trains have to be resisted, even if it means more pollution and massive inefficiency and falling ever further behind in the amenities of life—what Olmsted called our “commonplace civilization.”

    Part of this, of course, is the ancient—and yet, for most Americans, oddly beclouded—reality that the constitutional system is rigged for rural interests over urban ones. The Senate was designed to make this happen, even before we had big cities, and no matter how many people they contain or what efficient engines of prosperity they are. Mass transit goes begging while farm subsidies flourish.

    But the bias against the common good goes deeper, into the very cortex of the imagination. This was exemplified by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision, a few short years ago, to cancel the planned train tunnel under the Hudson. No good reason could be found for this—most of the money would have been supplied by the federal government, it was obviously in the long-term interests of the people of New Jersey, and it was exactly the kind of wise thing that, a hundred years ago, allowed the region to blossom. Christie was making what was purely a gesture toward the national Republican Party, in the same spirit as supporting a right-to-life amendment. We won’t build a tunnel for trains we obviously need because, if we did, people would use it and then think better of the people who built it. That is the logic in a nutshell, and logic it seems to be, until you get to its end, when it becomes an absurdity. As Paul Krugman wrote, correctly, about the rail-tunnel follies, “in general, the politicians who make the loudest noise about taking care of future generations, taking the long view, etc., are the ones who are in fact most irresponsible about public investments.”

    This week’s tragedy also, perhaps, put a stop for a moment to the license for mocking those who use the train—mocking Amtrak’s northeast “corridor” was a standard subject not just for satire, which everyone deserves, but also for sneering, which no one does. For the prejudice against trains is not a prejudice against an élite but against a commonality. The late Tony Judt, who was hardly anyone’s idea of a leftist softy, devoted much of his last, heroic work, written in conditions of near-impossible personal suffering, to the subject of … trains: trains as symbols of the public good, trains as a triumph of the liberal imagination, trains as the “symbol and symptom of modernity,” and modernity at its best. “The railways were the necessary and natural accompaniment to the emergence of civil society,” he wrote. “They are a collective project for individual benefit … something that the market cannot accomplish, except, on its own account of itself, by happy inadvertence. … If we lose the railways we shall not just have lost a valuable practical asset. We shall have acknowledged that we have forgotten how to live collectively.”

    Trains take us places together. (You can read good books on them, too.) Every time you ride one, you look outside, and you look inside, and you can’t help but think about the private and the public in a new way. As Judt wrote, the railroad represents neither the fearsome state nor the free individual. A train is a small society, headed somewhere more or less on time, more or less together, more or less sharing the same window, with a common view and a singular destination.

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    Well it's a nice conspiracy theory but the reality of the situation is that train infrastructure is a giant financial black hole in this country. It's not the politicians who conspire to avoid central government, it's the people themselves who would rather drive. This is a market economy, the people choose NOT to ride the train. That's not to say people can't gradually move to them for mid-distance transportation. Amtrak has lost so much money for the taxpayers that it has set a huge precedent against large rail projects. It has little ot nothing to do with the ideology of the political class and everything to do with the habits and ideology of the population

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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonGecko View Post
    Well it's a nice conspiracy theory but the reality of the situation is that train infrastructure is a giant financial black hole in this country. It's not the politicians who conspire to avoid central government, it's the people themselves who would rather drive. This is a market economy, the people choose NOT to ride the train. That's not to say people can't gradually move to them for mid-distance transportation. Amtrak has lost so much money for the taxpayers that it has set a huge precedent against large rail projects. It has little ot nothing to do with the ideology of the political class and everything to do with the habits and ideology of the population
    So are Roads , Schools , Public Services and yet they are funded.... Trains have always received the short end of the stick. US Rail Regulations lag 20 years behind Europe & Asia which drives up costs and no one wants to overhaul the system. If Amtrak was upgraded and funded at the same level as the Air Industry than they wouldn't operate in the red.

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    But what do you do for the final mile? Most people live in sprawl, not concentrated cities. To get from the train station to the burbs you still need a car/taxi, and people would rather avoid the headaches and just drive the whole way. I'm all for new efficient high speed rail, but the demand in the US isn't typically there to support the costs. Almost everyone drives or knows someone who has a car, so obviously roads will get maximum attention. Everybody's kids need education. But not everyone rides, or wants to ride the train

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