NY Senator proposes public private partnership for Hudson river tunnels

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NY Senator proposes public private partnership for Hudson river tunnels

New York Senator, Chuck Schumer, has proposed the use of the public private partnership (P3) model to develop two rail tunnels under the Hudston River linking New York and New Jersey in USA.

The current tunnels are owned and operated by Amtrak, a partially government-funded American passenger railroad service. According to Amtrak there are roughly 200,000 daily riders. The firm can squeeze 24 trains an hour through the two tracks of the tunnel. However, when one of the tracks has to close for repairs, that number drops to six trains per hour. The infrastructure is so busy that the operator has to do maintenance work at night, when one track is closed.

Additionally the tunnels, which are are more than 100 years old, were damaged during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The proposed project aims to solve the rail disruptions caused by deterioration of the existing infrastructure, which is part of the Northeast corridor. The corridor, stretching from Washington, D.C. to Boston, is located where 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product is produced.

Mr Schumer seeks to create a nonprofit Gateway Development Corporation by a partnership composed of New York, New Jersey, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This partnership would manage the proposed project.

The total project project investment is estimated at about US$14 billion and is expected to be part of the US$20 billion to US$25 billion Gateway Program. The project could also be financed by the the federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program, which has US$35 billion to develop rail projects.

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