U.S. government-owned rail operator Amtrak said plans to construct a railway tunnel that will link New York City and New Jersey at a cost of $13.5-billion.
The proposed tunnel, dubbed The Gateway Project, is expected to be completed by 2020.
The two new trans-Hudson tunnels envisioned under this plan will provide long-sought, peak period operational capacity and is an investment that will improve transportation flexibility and reliability for decades to come, Anthony Coscia, a member of Amtrak's board of directors, said in the statement.
Amtrak’s president and CEO Joe Boardman called the project a critical first step in developing new high-speed service to the Northeast U.S. corridor.
Initially, Amtrak will spend $50-million on preliminary engineering and design work on two tunnels under the Hudson River. Amtrak added that the states of New York and New Jersey states, in addition to other local and regional authorities, might contribute further funds to the project.
According to press reports, Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat claims the new project will allow Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (the public transport system) to add thirteen and eight trains per hour, respectively, at peak times into New York.
“The Gateway Project is a vision for our future that will shorten commutes, create jobs, increase property values and grow New Jersey’s economy,” Lautenberg said in the statement.
The development comes after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled a similar project last autumn for being too costly. That $8.7 billion tunnel project was slated to be the largest public works project in the U.S.