Late Thursday, November 11, Amtrak officials said that any talks with NJ Transit on a joint new tunnel under the Hudson are dead, according to the Bergen Record, reported by Karen Rouse. “We are no longer interested in this project,” said Vernae Graham, spokeswoman for Amtrak. “There were exploratory talks going on with NJ Transit,” Graham said. “The talks have stopped. . . . That was commuter rail, and we are interested in intercity rail projects.”
The Amtrak announcement comes a day after NJ Gov. Christie told The Record that Amtrak was interested in possibly purchasing from NJ Transit engineering work that had already been done; Amtrak would then use the work to begin planning their high-speed rail tunnel. NJ Transit spokesman Paul Wyckoff said only that, “We’re all interested in exploring affordable alternatives to the trans-Hudson challenge,” according to The Record.
The Lackawanna Coalition believes that a new tunnel is necessary, both for commuters and for intercity rail service; but that it needs to be a coordinated solution that addresses both NJ Transit and Amtrak’s needs, and therefore needs to serve Penn Station and be usable by both railroads. We encourage NJT and Amtrak to work together on an affordable solution that truly furthers regional rail service.