New analysis issued Monday during a meeting of the Gateway Program Development Corp. board of trustees meeting found dramatic delays throughout the Northeast Corridor caused by failures at the North River Tunnel and Portal Bridge, both of which are 108 years old.
According to the Gateway board, the analysis is based on five years of data provided by New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. It found 85 days between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2018 where infrastructure failures in the tunnel and on the bridge caused more than five hours of delays for Transit and Amtrak passengers.
In total, the incidents caused 112,800 minutes of train delays or almost 2,000 lost hours in extra transit time.
“Regular delays are unacceptable for any amount of time, but these 85 major delay days are particularly bad, adding up to more than one day a month of major delays,” GDC Board Chairman and New Jersey Trustee Jerry Zaro said in a statement. “Commuters are rightly frustrated at being forced to arrive very late to work and parents dismayed over lost time otherwise spent with family and children. It’s past time to build Gateway and give passengers the reliability they pay for and deserve.”
“The current Hudson River train tunnels are in dire condition, and it’s only a matter of time before one or both tubes fail,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a joint statement issued Monday. “Building the new Hudson Tunnel Project is the single most important infrastructure project in our nation, but the Trump administration has abdicated its responsibility by failing to pay its fair share to replace this federally-owned asset.
“While the Trump administration continues to put politics ahead of the safety and economic security of the nation, New York and New Jersey are working together to get the job done,” the governors continued. “The signing of this legislation [to move the Gateway project forward] will statutorily create the Gateway Development Commission as a bi-state entity to facilitate the new Hudson Tunnel Project.”
The local partners are New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the nonprofit Gateway Program Development Corp. Gateway is leading the planning of the $14.3 billion-plus infrastructure project to replace the rail tunnels and the Portal Bridge, which spans the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny and opens to allow ships to pass on the river.
More than 200,000 people travel through the tunnels and across the bridge each day.
Gateway trustees Zaro, Steven Cohen and Anthony Coscia are pleading for federal funding. Supporters of the Gateway project note that 20 percent of the American economy depends on the Hudson River tunnels carrying trains between Washington D.C., New York City and Boston.