New tunnel could cost consumers more to use

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is moving ahead with plans to build a new commuter tunnel between New York City and New Jersey.
But those using the tunnel could be forced to pay a surcharge to help pay for the construction, officials said.
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners agreed on Dec. 10 to partner with the federal government in the development of the vital Gateway Tunnel Project by creating a development corporation to oversee construction of the massive passenger rail project and meet the future needs of hundreds of thousands of riders.
The PA will help oversee construction of a new trans-Hudson rail link to improve passenger rail service between New Jersey and New York, as well as along the Northeast Corridor.
The Board authorized the Executive Director to consult with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and report to the board as soon as possible any additional steps, including any further study necessary to establish a development corporation that will oversee construction and execution of the tunnel project.
The Board’s action also called for agency staff to work closely with the federal government to identify federal grants and maximize financing options, including the use of low-interest loans under federal programs, as well as finding ways in cooperation with NJ Transit to expedite needed environmental and other necessary approvals for the project.
“The Port Authority has been called on many times in its nearly 100-year history to develop and build great projects,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “Once again, we are asked to take a leading role in one of this generation’s most important transportation project and we accept this responsibility. We will work closely with our federal partners to move this project expeditiously forward and will use the unparalleled expertise of our staff to see that it gets done.”

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