The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick
 

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October 4, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 40

Copyright © 2010
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 11th Newsletter Year

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
Amtrak Proposes World-Class High-Speed
   Rail For America
New Jersey Calls Halt to All Transportation Projects;
   Blames Lack of Available Funds
CT Busway Picks Up More Opponents
  Livable Cities And The Environment…
Here To There: Transportation Planning In
   A Climate-Neutral City
 
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Commentary…
Will Amtrak Bypass SE Connecticut?
The New Jersey ARC Moratorium: What About Amtrak?
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

DC-Boston In 220 MPH/Three Hours

 

Amtrak Proposes World-Class
High-Speed Rail For America

From Amtrak

PHILADELPHIA – A Next-Generation High-Speed Rail service could be successfully developed in the Northeast with trains operating up to 220 mph (354 kph) on a new two-track corridor resulting in a trip time of about three hours between Washington and Boston, cutting in half or better the current schedules, according to a concept plan released today by Amtrak.

At an average speed of 137 mph (220 kph), a trip between Washington and New York would take just 96 minutes, about one hour faster than today. For the trip between New York and Boston, the average speed would be 148 mph (238 kph) and take just 84 minutes, or a time savings of more than two hours.

“Amtrak is putting forward a bold vision of a realistic and attainable future that can revolutionize transportation, travel patterns and economic development in the Northeast for generations,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.

Union Station, Washington DC

User “UpstateNYer” via WikiMedia Commons (Wikipedia).

Amtrak’s Headquarters is located at Union Station in Washington DC.

The Amtrak concept plan, A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), shows a financially viable route could be developed. Upon its full build-out in 2040, high-speed train ridership would approach 18 million passengers with room to accommodate up to 80 million annually as demand increases in the years and decades that follow. Departures of high-speed trains would expand from an average of one to four per hour in each direction, with additional service in the peak periods, and total daily high-speed rail departures would increase from 42 today to as many as 148 in 2040.

The service would generate an annual operating surplus of approximately $900 million and its construction would create more than 40,000 full-time jobs annually over a 25-year construction period to build the new track, tunnels, bridges, stations, and other infrastructure.

P42 Class Locomotive

Image: Amtrak.Com

A P42 class diesel locomotive
More than 120,000 permanent jobs in improved economic productivity along the corridor and in rail operations are predicted by 2040.

In addition to significant travel time savings between major cities, tremendous mobility improvements would come with environmental, energy and congestion mitigation benefits. The new transportation capacity obtained with this investment will allow a larger share of the intercity travel market to be via high-speed rail, strengthening sustainable, energy-efficient development in the corridor’s metropolitan areas.

“Amtrak’s plan to modernize the Northeast Corridor and make it a truly high speed rail line is the type of innovative thinking we need to get cars off the road, decrease pollution and put people to work improving America’s infrastructure,” stated Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). “I applaud the plan and pledge to work with Amtrak to improve the Northeast Corridor and make America a leader in high speed rail.”

“Amtrak’s High Speed Rail plan will create jobs, cut pollution and help us move towards a modern and reliable transportation system network in the Northeast,” said Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). “As countries around the world continue to build out their transportation systems, we cannot afford to fall further behind. This is an important down payment on the massive commitment necessary to bridge our infrastructure gap.”

With an investment of $4.7 billion annually over 25 years, a major national transportation asset would be built to support the growth and competitive position of the Northeast region. Its population, economic densities and growing intercity travel demand make it one of the premier “mega-regions” of the world, and an ideal market for world-class high-speed passenger rail service.

“The results show the concept of a world-class high-speed rail service would help relieve congestion across all modes of transportation, spur jobs creation and economic productivity, reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of the environment,” said Al Engel, incoming Amtrak Vice President for High-Speed Rail.

The specific high-speed alignment, stations, maintenance yards and other facilities that were analyzed in the report represent only one of a wide range of possible network and service configurations that could be developed. The analyzed concepts reflect the study’s underlying goals (i.e., aggressive travel time savings, station locations in downtown areas) and detailed preliminary planning and engineering assessments. These concepts would undergo numerous revisions, refinements and changes under more detailed study, and other concepts with different alignments would likely be further reviewed at that time.

As America’s intercity passenger rail service provider and its only high-speed rail operator, Amtrak has a vital, leading and necessary role to play in expanding and operating high-speed rail service. Just as leading countries throughout Europe and Asia are expanding existing high-speed rail networks and developing new systems, Next-Generation High-Speed Rail must be part of a balanced transportation future in major travel corridors across the U.S.

An NEC Infrastructure Master Plan issued earlier this year predicted that the capacity gains achieved within the current NEC “footprint” would be maxed out by 2030. The Next-Generation High-Speed Rail system will provide the necessary new capacity to meet growing demand well beyond 2030. By operating the highest-speed trains on the new infrastructure, capacity on the existing NEC would become available for additional commuter and conventional intercity passenger trains as well as for freight operations.

A copy of the report is available on Amtrak.com.


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New Jersey Calls Halt to All Transportation Projects;
Blames Lack of Available Funds

By David Peter Alan

New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson has ordered a halt to all work on all projects under construction or design by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) or New Jersey Transit (NJT), effective Monday, October 4th. According to NJDOT, about 100 road-related construction projects and 200 design projects are affected along with fifteen projects for NJT. The stoppage was ordered on Friday, October 1st, and notice was sent to affected contractors, consultants and labor organizations.

“We have been forced to implement this work stoppage due to the Legislature’s failure to approve a routine bond transaction in the fifth and final year of a transportation program that was approved under the previous administration” Simpson said. The previous governor, Jon Corzine, was a Democrat, and Democrats currently have a majority in both houses of the Legislature. The current governor, Chris Christie, is a Republican who has recently sparred with legislators on a number of issues, including job cuts in the public sector. The Legislature had failed to approve $1.25 billion in bonds that would have kept the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) in operation to pay for the ongoing work that was suspended.

The TTF is the primary source of funding for highway projects in New Jersey and capital projects for NJT. A legislative appropriation of $895 million is leveraged by bonding into $1.6 billion in income that is used to pay for projects. While the TTF operated on a “pay as you go” basis in the past, it has increasingly become funded by debt. Democrats have been concerned about how to keep the TTF funded, especially since Christie has promised that he will not raise the user fee on gasoline and other motor fuels for the purpose. When the current fiscal year ends next June 30th, the TTF will have no money left, except for debt service, and will no longer be able to fund any projects. According to NJDOT, without the $1.25 billion in bonds, only $50 million is left in the TTF. That will be needed for the next debt service payment in December.

Critics blame the Legislature for jeopardizing current funding to show their concern about future funding, especially since a Democratic administration and legislature approved the plan that would have included the bonds that the Legislature did not authorize. There has been speculation that the Christie Administration has placed a moratorium on new contracts and real estate acquisition for NJT’s Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Project to consider scrapping the plan and redirecting as much money as possible toward renewing the TTF.

Several transit projects are affected, from repairs on the train shed at Hoboken Terminal to high-level platforms at Perth Amboy on the North Jersey Coast Line. One of the projects mentioned was “Portal Bridge South”: a project designation never used before. Until now, “Portal Bridge” (Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project) involved construction of two new bridges over the Hackensack River on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Line to replace an 80-year-old bridge. It was recently revealed that NJT pegged its share of the $1.7 billion project at $750 million, with the rest of the cost allocated to Amtrak. Rail advocates speculate that NJT has segmented Portal Bridge into two projects to limit its responsibility to only part of the project, and that NJT may be pushing to get Federal funding for the part of the project that would benefit Amtrak.

Advocates also question NJT’s claim that New Jersey can raise its share of the cost of the ARC Project, currently $2.7 billion of an overall cost of $8.7 billion. Statements by the Regional Rail Working Group, New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers and Lackawanna Coalition have also disputed NJT’s claims regarding the cost of the project, expressing their belief that the actual cost exceeds NJT’s number by $2 billion.

Veteran Trenton-watchers have said that “the gloves are now off” and that New Jerseyans should not expect much bi-partisan cooperation between the Democrats and the Republicans in their state government. How the new climate in Trenton will affect the ARC Project and other transit issues remains to be seen.


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CT Busway Picks Up More Opponents

From Internet Sources

New Haven --- The New Haven Register, one of the state’s oldest newspapers, has come out strongly against the proposed New Britain-Hartford Busway whose opponents, including the Connecticut Sierra Club, the large Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, and the National Corridors Initiative, have criticized as too costly.

The Connecticut State Department of Transportation has also been criticized for promoting the project with claims that the full rail alternative had been studied and found wanting, when in fact only a partial rail alternative study was ever completed by ConnDOT, and that a decade ago.

Here is what the New Haven Register published Friday, October 1:

EDITORIAL: Busway too costly, would serve too few

Whatever its merits when it was first proposed in the 1990s, the plan to build a highway just for buses between New Britain and Hartford has turned into a costly, unnecessary government boondoggle.

When conceived, the 9.4-mile road for buses was estimated to cost $82 million. Its estimated cost now is $572 million.

Despite the high cost, the project is still alive because of the hope it will qualify for $275 million in federal aid.

It would not be money well spent.

That point is now being made by the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. It is urging that the project be stopped, or at least halted until a new governor takes office next year and can reconsider it.

The project’s huge cost would siphon money from needed repair and maintenance of the state’s bridges and roads. The busway will cost more, but serve fewer people, than double tracking the rail line between Springfield and New Haven to restore regular commuter and freight service.

The busway would be built on an abandoned rail line. The chambers of commerce are objecting that taking the railroad right-of-way for a bus lane will prevent its restoration for regular rail service. That service would connect Hartford to Waterbury, through New Britain and Bristol, and then on to Bridgeport and New York.

Restoring this rail connection would serve the same end of taking cars off a clogged Interstate 84 by providing a mass transit alternative. But, it would serve an entire region, not just a 9.4-mile route at a cost that has become impossible to justify.

In a related development this week, Amtrak announced plans for a new high speed (220-mph) inland main line New York to Boston that would take 86 minutes instead of the present 3_ hour Shoreline route; it would use portions of the same right of way that the busway, if built, would block.


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LIVEABLE CITIES... Livable Cities And The Environment...  

Here To There: Transportation Planning
In A Climate-Neutral City

Richard Conlin
Yes! Magazine

Seattle wants to be the first “climate-neutral” city in the world.

In his blog, City Council President and Yes! Magazine Board Member, Richard Conlin lays out the huge challenges the city is facing and the encouraging progress being made. “It’s no small task: The City must account for, and reduce, the carbon footprint of everything from transportation to trash for hundreds of thousands of people.”

One of the biggest challenges is to design a transportation system that minimizes the consumption of carbon, and yet the City cannot make the final decisions. Its role in implementing such projects is to influence and guide the state and regional leaders who will ultimately make those decisions.

People are fearful when they hear of large transportation projects, says Conlin. They worry about high costs and potential harm to their communities. They want small projects that encourage walking and bicycling, which are obviously carbon positive. But in our society, he writes, “travel patterns and needs are complicated, and some big projects not only make sense, but are essential to our lives and to commerce.”

“Three principles should guide project evaluations:

  1. Reduce the use of fossil-fueled vehicles
  2. Create compact urban communities
  3. Plan for vehicle movement especially to link the jobs and housing but make sure those distances are shorter.

Conlin cites the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 project, which achieves zero net emissions by reducing personal trips by car from the current 80 percent share to 54 percent, electrifying all private vehicles by using renewable resources, and employing hydrogen and biofuels for heavy vehicles that require liquid hydrocarbons.

Strategies to achieve Seattle’s goals have been implemented for several years, demonstrating that regional projects are giving priority to transit and bicycle/pedestrian access.

Here are four big projects in the works or being designed:

  1. While ten years ago Sound Transit was almost “on the ropes” and plans were afoot to double the capacity of the Route 520 bridge for cars, now Link Light Rail connects downtown to the University of Washington and north into Snohomish County.

  2. Eastside Link Light Rail will connect Seattle across Lake Washington to Bellevue and Redmond, providing a critical transit corridor for the west and east side urban areas.

  3. Increased capacity on highway 520 will accommodate transit and bicycling with no added lanes for automobiles. A bicycle/pedestrian path will be included on the bridge, and it has been designed to be ready for the addition of a future light rail. The Westside interchange design also will alleviate traffic for Seattle transit heading north-south. (The original proposal was for an eight-lane highway; city officials and legislators deserve credit for backing away from that plan).

  4. The aerial road system through downtown Seattle, the Alaskan Way Aerial Viaduct, will be replaced with a bored tunnel, allowing for new bicycle/pedestrian facilities and new parks on the waterfront and downtown. The system would reduce vehicle lanes from six to four and would promote downtown transit by removing traffic from downtown streets.

[Notes:  Costs are not conclusively known until contracts are signed; entries and exits to the tunnel must be integrated into urban design; transit components are not yet funded; tolling must be designed to manage impacts on downtown streets.]

Yes! Magazine is a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Richard is president of the Seattle City Council and a YES! Magazine board member.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Canadian National (CNI)64.1464.50
Canadian Pacific (CP) 61.1362.42
CSX (CSX)55.1656.14
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)42.9042.97
Kansas City Southern (KSU)37.2639.14
Norfolk Southern (NSC)59.0259.88
Providence & Worcester(PWX)12.0512.55
Union Pacific (UNP)81.0382.10


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COMMENTARY... Commentary...  

Will Amtrak Bypass SE Connecticut?

Molly McKay
Editor, Destination: Freedom

Amtrak’s announcement stirred up some anxiety in Southeaster Connecticut where the denizens of that area enjoy the benefits of rail service, both high speed and regional, on the Northeast Corridor. The Day columnist in New London followed up the announcement with an article called: “Could Amtrak Be Leaving?”

Opening sentence -- “The good news about Amtrak’s 30-year vision for new express train service on the East Coast, with projected Boston-to-New York travel times of 90 minutes or less, is that the new trains may not come anywhere near southeastern Connecticut.”

Is followed by – “The bad news is that they may not come anywhere near southeastern Connecticut.”

The fact that a potential route for the new high speed service would go through Waterbury and then Hartford and on to Boston via the former “airline route” actually raised fears that Amtrak would lose interest in the slower shore line route and shut down that service altogether!

“And yet I wonder,” continues Collins, “with a projected 50 to 70 high speed trains departing daily in each direction, would Amtrak and its customers still be interested in running and riding the old shoreline route through southern Connecticut, poking along at 20th century speeds?

How long would it take for the railroad to eliminate the Boston-to-New York service that includes stops in southeastern Connecticut?”

But there is usually a silver lining to bad news: Of course, commuter service to New York might get better with fewer long distance trains using the Amtrak lines.

And since the rail riders of Southeastern Connecticut are always complaining about Amtrak’s high prices, “Why can’t we have the frequency and affordability of the Metro North service when we want to go to New York or Boston?” losing Amtrak might be the best thing that could happen.

The bottom line is -- this country needs both: reliable and affordable regional and commuter rail and high speed intercity rail that cuts travel time significantly between major metropolitan areas. As Mr. Collins summed it up: “The vision Amtrak unveiled [last week]... has already generated a lot of positive press and excitement. What’s not to like about a train system that would cut travel time between Washington and New York from 162 minutes to 84 minutes?

The project would create about 44,000 construction jobs over 25 years and 120,000 permanent jobs, Amtrak said. The added ridership would generate almost $900 million a year in additional revenue, the railroad said. [And] it will reduce highway congestion and air traffic.”


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The New Jersey ARC Moratorium:
What About Amtrak?

Third in a Series

By David Peter Alan

New Jersey has called a 30-day moratorium on new contracts and real estate acquisition on the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) Project. It is in effect at this writing, and the future of the project is uncertain. The overriding issue is whether or not New Jersey can afford its share of the cost.

The original “ARC” proposal from 1995 called for construction of two new tracks under the Hudson River. There were three alternatives proposed for the New York end: “P” called for a stub-end station below the existing Penn Station (although not nearly as deep as the one now proposed). The other two alternatives would go into Penn Station: “S” with non-revenue tracks to and from Sunnnyside Yard in Queens, and “G” which would extend the line to the East Side of Midtown Manhattan at Grand Central Terminal. Advocates for the riding community strongly preferred the latter alternative, Alternative “G” (for Grand Central), because it would provide new access to the East Side without downgrading existing access to the West Side. Alternative “G” would have continued to bring New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains into the existing Penn Station, along with Amtrak trains, and advocates were shocked when that plan was removed from consideration in 2003.

The current NJT proposal calls for a separate deep-cavern terminal twenty stories below 34th Street, which Amtrak would be unable to use. NJT had planned for a connection from the proposed line to the existing Penn Station until February, 2008. The Penn Station connection was officially eliminated at that time, ostensibly due to technical problems. In reality, it was necessary to save on construction costs and keep the entire project down to an acceptable price.

Rail advocates continue to rally to the call of Right-Size the ARC Project: Moynihan/Penn Station First. They maintain that one of the greatest benefits of their proposed alternative is that both Amtrak and NJT would be able to use the new tracks to gain access to the existing Penn Station. Under that plan, both Amtrak and NJT would have full access to a four-track railroad, like the railroad between Newark and Philadelphia. They say that both carriers would benefit from the increased operating flexibility and redundancy, and the resulting improved reliability that would result from having a four-track line. Instead, NJT’s proposal calls for an entirely separate railroad, branching off from Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Line (NEC) at Swift Interlocking, nine miles (fourteen kilometers) west of Penn Station, leaving Amtrak with the same two-track line that it and its predecessors have operated since 1910.

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the moratorium on new contracts and real estate purchases for the ARC Project, Amtrak stood to benefit. There is now a serious possibility that a project not accessible to Amtrak’s could be canceled, perhaps in favor of building new tracks that Amtrak could use. Amtrak did not react positively to the development.

In a press release dated September 14th, Amtrak said: “Amtrak supports the ARC Tunnel because it will create additional commuter rail capacity for future Amtrak and New Jersey Transit growth along the Northeast Corridor. Simply put, more tunnels under the Hudson River must be built if additional commuter trains are to serve New York City.” It should be noted that Amtrak stopped short of specifically endorsing the proposed deep-cavern terminal, which would not accommodate Amtrak trains as currently designed. Still, this lack of access would be the project’s most objectionable feature from Amtrak’s standpoint, and Amtrak did not specifically object to it. To a person who is not thoroughly familiar with the issues, Amtrak’s lack of objection to that feature could be construed as a tacit endorsement.

In its release, Amtrak appeared to endorse a project that would deliver a detriment, and not a benefit. This is a starkly different position than Amtrak took in 2007 and 2008, when NJT eliminated any connection between the proposed new line and the existing Penn Station; the one feature that would have made the proposed new line useful for Amtrak. At the time, Amtrak President Alex Kummant and Northeast Region Vice-President Ann Witt publicly expressed concern about NJT’s plan to build a line that only NJT could use, and that would not give NJT riders a convenient connection to Amtrak trains. Neither of these people are still working for Amtrak.

Amtrak reacted to the new NJT plan by proposing a project of its own. Known as the “780 Plan” after the New York City tax number of the city block that would be most affected, Amtrak’s proposal called for construction of six tracks immediately south of Track 1, as an expansion of the existing Penn Station. These tracks, which would have been too short to accommodate long commuter or intercity trains, would be located underground between 30th and 31st Streets from Seventh to Eighth Avenues, and not in a deep cavern. Ironically, Amtrak proposed to build the same number of tracks that NJT plans to build inside the proposed deep-cavern terminal, which is now under review.

Senator Frank Lautenberg, a venerable Democrat from New Jersey, may hold the key to unlocking Amtrak’s cryptic attitude. He has consistently supported Amtrak, particularly about funding. He supports the proposed deep-cavern terminal even more strongly, even though the project will not benefit Amtrak directly. Labor is one of Lautenberg’s most loyal constituencies, and he has touted that the ARC Project generally will create 6000 new construction jobs. Ironically, many of those jobs would not go to New Jersey workers, since the proposed terminal would be built under New York.

Rail advocates have expressed concern that a project as huge as ARC with the deep-cavern terminal would crowd out other capital projects by using up all of the capital funds that would become available to NJT for the next two decades (see D:F, August 30). They argue that the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative would free up enough capital funds to build other projects within New Jersey’s borders, so more New Jersey workers would eventually get jobs.

The scenario that would maximize construction costs to the tune of over $20 billion would be to build the NJT project with the proposed deep-cavern terminal, as well as the Amtrak “780” plan. The result would be a new railroad to a deep-cavern terminal just for NJT, in addition to two more trans-Hudson tunnels and six new tracks south of the existing Penn Station, just for Amtrak. In this era of tight money, such a scenario should be seen by everyone as fiscally, as well as politically, untenable.

The current NJT plan would not enhance capacity into the existing Penn Station on the NEC. The two existing tracks under the Hudson have now been in service for one hundred years, and they require a great deal of maintenance. Amtrak shuts down one track every week-end, making the NEC a single-track railroad. That operational plan is expected to continue indefinitely. New England and upstate New York remain linked to New Jersey and points south by a thread when that happens. Rail advocates in New York State, including the Empire State Passengers’ Association (ESPA), are aware of this fact. So are many of their counterparts in New England. D:F Publisher Jim RePass and Editor Molly McKay are currently raising the issue before the New England Rail Coalition (NERC), a regional organization representing all six New England states.

National advocacy organizations, including the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) and the Rail Users’ Network (RUN) object to the proposed deep-cavern terminal and support the construction of new tunnels into the existing Penn Station, so both Amtrak and NJT can use them. So do other advocacy organizations based as far from New York as Chicago, Miami and New Orleans - the most distant end points for Amtrak trains that originate at Penn Station.

For its part, Amtrak has one overriding concern: RELIABLE CAPACITY. Amtrak needs sufficient capacity to operate its intended schedule, allowing for reasonable contingencies or emergencies. A four-track line would allow Amtrak and NJT to operate their schedules reliably and allow future growth, i.e. more and faster trains.

At the station end, supporters of the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative believe that an improved and expanded Moynihan/Penn Station will greatly increase peak-hour capacity by improving operations as well as passenger access to platforms, and that a huge capital expenditure on a new terminal is not required to improve capacity. Joseph M. Clift, former director of Planning for the Long Island Rail Road and now one of the most vocal advocates for the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative, says that the LIRR schedules a train in and out on each track of Penn Station every fifteen minutes. If NJT and Amtrak can duplicate this operation on the twelve tracks available for their use at the existing Penn Station (Tracks 1 through 12), 42 trains could be scheduled during the busiest sixty minutes of the morning commuting peak; 36 on NJT and six on Amtrak (allowing two 15-minute “slots” for each Amtrak train). Eventual expansion to the East Side would further increase capacity, along with adding access to a part of the city with more offices than the West Side has.

So far, Amtrak has been unwilling to endorse the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative that the advocates support. Amtrak officials are aware of the implications of the overall ARC Project, and some of them have had experience in the affected region. Amtrak is also concerned about funding. Funding for both Amtrak and local transit is problematic as transit providers cut service and raise fares, and Amtrak continues to receive fewer Federal dollars than it requests. This has been a constant problem throughout Amtrak’s four decades of existence and it continues to be, despite a ridership that grows every year. From an operational standpoint, it does not make sense that Amtrak would not officially acknowledge the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative, which would solve Amtrak’s reliability problem west of Penn Station on the NEC, while also drawing funding from New Jersey and New York.

There are now three alternatives under consideration. The first is for New Jersey to go ahead on the current plan, including the proposed deep-cavern terminal. The second is to scrap the entire project. The third choice is Moynihan/Penn Station First.

If the advocates prevail and Moynihan/Penn Station First is built, the new railroad would be part of the Amtrak NEC line and go to the existing Penn Station location, so Amtrak’s needs would be fully met. If the entire project is scrapped at this time, the need for additional capacity into Penn Station could open the door for a future Amtrak project to build that capacity and bring it to the existing Penn Station. In that event, there would also be sufficient capacity for Amtrak and NJT, and riders would benefit, because all trains would go to the existing Penn Station.

In the current debate about the future of the ARC Project, NJT and their allies say that either the current NJT plan will be executed or no tunnel will be built; an all-or-nothing choice. Advocates and their allies offer the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative as a means for building the needed capacity and operating the station in a way that will provide an enhanced level of service; all at a saving of $3 billion in costs compared to the deep-cavern proposal. The next article in the series will focus on these alternatives.


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

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