NJ Senators Back “Gateway” Tunnel

US Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, said in a press release on Sunday, February 6, that they now back a design for the trans-Hudson rail tunnel that would follow the now-cancelled tunnel that would have ended in a “deep cavern” station under 34th Street in Manhattan.  However, as long proposed by the Lackawanna Coalition and other rail advocacy groups, the “Gateway Tunnel” would be built in collaboration with Amtrak and would terminate at 7 new tracks in Penn Station.  Graphics included in the press release indicate that the new tracks would be located in “Penn Station South”, to be built under the city block immediately south of the existing Penn Station complex.  The new design was said to allow for 13 additional NJ Transit trains per hour and 8 additional Amtrak trains (the press release hints at up to 30 additional trains).  The new design also would allow a direct connection to Grand Central Terminal, according to the proposal.  A news conference was scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, February 7, at the Hilton Newark Penn Station; both Senators and Amtrak President Joseph Boardman were reported as planning to attend.  (Reported by various sources; the Star-Ledger’s website nj.com is reported to have broken the story.)