The Lackawanna Coalition looks forward to construction starting on the necessary parts of the proposed Gateway Project: new tunnels that connect the Northeast Corridor into the existing Penn Station as a four-track mainline rather than two separate two-track railroads, a single four-track bridge to replace the existing Portal Bridge, and connecting Tracks 1 through 4 at Penn Station into the West End Concourse and eventually the Moynihan train hall, now under construction in the Farley Post Office Building. However, we remain concerned about the proposed “Penn South” station and other features of the proposed Gateway Project that we believe are overpriced and unnecessary, and we continue to object to them.

 

On Thursday, January 4th, the New York Daily News published an editorial calling for a project very similar to our suggestions, which we have called “Plan B.” The editorial called for a “new tube” into Penn Station, platform connections to the future Moynihan Station, and a four-track bridge at medium height to replace the aging Portal Bridge. The editorial criticized the Trump Administration for its expressed unwillingness to have the Feds chip in 50% of the cost of the tunnel project, but also said that Gateway was too expensive.

 

 

The editorial comes on the heels of a letter dated December 29th from K. Jane Williams, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to New York and New Jersey officials, which denied that the Obama Administration had committed the U.S. Department of Transportation to a 50-50 funding match for the “Hudson Tunnels Project” portion of Gateway and said that 90% of the riders who would benefit from the project are local riders.

 

 

The Coalition has repeatedly questioned whether the Trump Administration and Congress would be willing to fund 50% of the cost of Gateway, which is now estimated at $30 billion, and continues to call for a less-expensive project that increases capacity at Penn Station sooner. At the same time, we are dismayed that the letter does not recognize the Hudson River crossing as the most critical possible point of failure of transportation from New England to Washington, D. C. and points south, but we acknowledge the FTA’s concern about enough money for national Amtrak projects and the lack of a local match other than fare increases, especially in our own state.

 

 

There needs to be more realistic plan, and it needs to happen soon.

 

 

We welcome the similar call from the Daily News and we continue to advocate for more capacity now.