U.S. senators meet in Manhattan to discuss Gateway rail tunnel
New Jersey's senators say that a massive rail tunnel project to connect New Jersey to New York will be a lifesaver for commuters.
Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez met with senators from New York Monday at the Midtown Sheraton Hotel.
Sen. Booker says that the current rail tunnel is 100 years old and is in danger of crumbling. He says that if anything were to happen to shut down the tunnel it would lead to traffic "Armageddon."
"They're not just choking transportation between New York and New Jersey," he says. "They're choking the entire Northeast Corridor."
The $20 billion Gateway project will double the number of rail lines coming from Newark to New York Penn Station. This is an increase of 25 trains per hour. A new tunnel will also be built.
"Since this is a combined project between Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, that gives us access to a pot of money that's $2 billion a year," says Sen. Menendez.
Amtrak officials say that environmental and engineering reviews on the tunnel are already underway. They say that they hope to go into the design and construction phase of the plan by 2018.
Sen. Booker says that he is confident that President-elect Donald Trump will support the project.
"At the end of the day, he's a New Yorker and this is a vital artery into the city and to have this artery continue to crumble threatens the lifeblood of New York," Sen. Booker says.
New Jersey workers collectively earn $33 billion a year working in Manhattan, and that's money the senators say they don't want to see leave New Jersey anytime soon.