Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:37 pm

Tadman wrote:I have a new position on this tunnel.
Mr. Dunville, I can only reiterate what I noted previously:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Now what I think would be quite appropriate would be a "toll" assessed on all tickets for transportation using the Tunnels and the Portal bridge. That means Amtrak NEC passengers going through the Tunnels, as well as passengers on the (NJT), PRSL, PRR and DL&W would "pony up". Amtrak passengers on the New Haven, along with those NJT on the CNJ and ERIE, would not.
This "toll" would demonstrate to the "taxpayer in Lander" that the users are paying more for it than any allocation of Federal funds will be costing him.

What's an extra $46 a month ("buck a ride") to an NJT commuter, or an additional "fin" to an Acela rider, to "placate" those taxpayers out of the area? Lest we forget, vehicle bridge/tunnel tolls to access Manhattan are $15 round trip.

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JoeG
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by JoeG » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:17 pm

New Jersey is the state with the biggest gap between federal taxes paid and benefits received; New Jersey therefore subsidizes other states already, as does NY. Does this affect the calculations about who should pay for the tunnels?

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JoeG
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by JoeG » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:20 pm

New Jersey is the state with the biggest gap between federal taxes paid and benefits received; New Jersey therefore subsidizes other states already, as does NY. Does this affect the calculations about who should pay for the tunnels? Seems like NY and NJ might have earned some subsidies here.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:44 pm

A good point, Mr. Grossman. However where is POTUS45's "base" to get him re-elected; Lander or New Jersey?

rr503
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by rr503 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:45 pm

Tadman wrote:I have a new position on this tunnel.

I once hoped we could get a federal deal, but it's clear the NY/NJ folks take the tunnels for granted and also federal funding for granted.

The tunnels were built with private money, they can find local or private money to build new ones. 99% of riders are Jersey commuters. 80%+ of Amtrak passengers turn over at NYP. It's a completely local issue. Let the Jersey commuters and southern NEC folks hop off at Hoboken or Newark and ride path.

Any malarkey about it being "critical to the national economy" is a crock. I could make that argument about corridor and commuter trains going into Boston, Philly, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, and Seattle. It's a tired line of logic that doesn't hold water.
So what _does_ qualify as a national issue? Over ninety percent of car trips are under fifty miles, over 75 percent of truck trips under 100; does that make funding interstates a local issue? Freight rail is unique in its being dominated by long haul moves; pretty much every other bit of our 'national networks' is dominated by local travel.

Really speaking, there is no such thing as a true local issue. Every decision in land use, road maintenance, transit investment, power distribution, etc has implications that roll beyond the borders of a given jurisdiction. That's what an industrialized society gets you -- connectivity and tangible environmental impact. While the tenth amendment restricts the direct powers of the federal government in these spheres, it (rightfully) involves itself in the funding of many of these supposedly local projects, as it would have here. Because really speaking, Gateway is no different than any other FTA/FRA/FHWA supported project -- it's a state/local initiative requesting backing with federal funds. The question isn't so much level of implication, but merit among its peers, a plane on which I think we can all agree that it makes its case.

andegold
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by andegold » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:29 pm

The next time Florida gets hit with a hurricane, New Orleans or Houston sinks in a flood or any town in Kansas gets hit by a tornado you can all just rebuild it yourselves. Not another dime for those local issues ever.

ChemiosMurphy
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by ChemiosMurphy » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:23 am

Let's see what happens when the tunnels fail. How are PA, NJ and NY tax payers going to subsidize farmers in the Midwest? $12 billion was set aside for farmers due to Trump's trade war. There's a good chunk of the tunnel right there.

Housing rates in NYC are going to skyrocket even further than they already are now.

This is beyond asinine that the Feds won't pony up major money for it. Trump's budget request is asking for an extra $33 billion for the military. A portion of that could pay for Gateway. The fight for the ability for people to go to work surely outweighs additional defense spending during peacetime.

The rates that Amtrak charges NJT and SEPTA are a telltale sign that the infrastructure is Amtrak's problem. The Feds own Amtrak. If Amtrak wants to abdicate its role as the NEC landlord, then they should release it to the states and have the Acela be a second class citizen to an NJT super express.

How much more capacity does the XBL, PABT, NJT bus operations, and PATH have? How are you going to funnel people in and out of NY for the long term?

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Trump is a New Yorker, he should know better.

JCGUY
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by JCGUY » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:58 am

Trump's tentacles stretch very far in this region across projects and indeed time itself. The PA bus terminal is completely overtaxed, and there's an obvious need to expand it. And yet, nothing concrete is on the drawing board for construction. The bus lane leading to the terminal is maxed out, and there's no plan to expand access or build a dedicated tunnel. Most alarmingly, Trump was able to go back in time and ensure that Obama never devoted a single dollar to building Gateway, apart from some amorphous "pledge" that was never articulated with any specificity or in any memorialized writing. I shudder at the thought that he'll be able to exercise similar control over the future as well and prevent the next president from handing over $30 billion for the project. Because the next president will not be handing over that amount. I expect sharp-eyed railroad.net commenters to place the blame at that point on The Nearest Proximate Republican.

Frank
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by Frank » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:23 am

ChemiosMurphy wrote:Let's see what happens when the tunnels fail. How are PA, NJ and NY tax payers going to subsidize farmers in the Midwest? $12 billion was set aside for farmers due to Trump's trade war. There's a good chunk of the tunnel right there.

Housing rates in NYC are going to skyrocket even further than they already are now.

This is beyond asinine that the Feds won't pony up major money for it. Trump's budget request is asking for an extra $33 billion for the military. A portion of that could pay for Gateway. The fight for the ability for people to go to work surely outweighs additional defense spending during peacetime.

The rates that Amtrak charges NJT and SEPTA are a telltale sign that the infrastructure is Amtrak's problem. The Feds own Amtrak. If Amtrak wants to abdicate its role as the NEC landlord, then they should release it to the states and have the Acela be a second class citizen to an NJT super express.

How much more capacity does the XBL, PABT, NJT bus operations, and PATH have? How are you going to funnel people in and out of NY for the long term?

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Trump is a New Yorker, he should know better.
It's a disgrace really. If I was living in another part of the country, I would care if my taxpayer money went to some road, airport, or railroad project because it wouldn't affect me. Some people on this forum don't understand as well as the president.
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WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:01 am

Frank wrote: It's a disgrace really. If I was living in another part of the country, I would care if my taxpayer money went to some road, airport, or railroad project because it wouldn't affect me. Some people on this forum don't understand as well as the president.
And that's been the trend lately among the Tea Party's constituency: cut taxes at all costs even if it means I get nothing because it certainly means they get nothing. How many governors made a competitive sport out of returning federal rail funds? Eventually something will give: more things will start breaking and politicians (motivated by their constituents) will demand funding.

The problem is that Trump takes everything personally and the Northeastern senators, representatives, governors, and AGs are deliberately antagonizing him and aren't offering him anything. Trump's actually doing pretty well on delivering promises to his base: decreased regulation, conservative judges, travel bans, NAFTA renegotiation, tax cuts (which, unfortunately, had disproportionate impact on NY and NJ), etc. The one thing he hasn't delivered to his base is The Wall.

The NE pols need to start speaking Trump's language. How will they contain costs? I haven't heard any offers to throw the Sandhogs' Union under the bus. What about regulation changes? Why don't they propose some sensible regulation and law changes regarding the construction process? I won't say take an axe to NEPA but what if NIMBY and Sierra Club-backed lawsuits challenging projects were routed to a newly-created, "packed" Construction Court? What if Congress designated certain projects as "priority in the national interest" and waved certain NEPA rules? If we're talking about building it anyway, why consider a "no-build alternative" in the EIS? If it's in the national interest maybe a "Finding of No Significant Impact" can be replaced by a "Finding of Minimal Impact" or "acceptable" impact.

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Tadman
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by Tadman » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:53 am

Also, we've got to kick this "donor state" mentality. 62% of the monies spent federally in the states are for things like social security, retirement benefits, medicaid, etc... versus 18% in the form of grants that, go for things like transportation and housing.

Although the proportions vary from state to state, it means that $2t of the $3t of federal monies go to essentially retirees. With the exception of the older railfans, they don't ride Acela for kicks and they sure don't commute to work on the NY&LB through the Hudson tunnels.
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Ridgefielder
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:26 pm

BandA wrote:This is an interesting strategy; Doesn't guarantee any money but requires a response and exposes some of the hypocrisy.

So what is the contingency plan? Start laying keels for a bunch of ferries, now! If a tunnel is shut down, convert some of the road tunnels to buses only 7AM-8PM?
Saying some of the road tunnels implies that we have a bunch of them to work with. We don't. We have 2- the Holland and the Lincoln. Two tubes in the Holland, one running each direction. Three in the Lincoln, one running east, one running west, one (the "suicide tube") in the center that runs both directions off-peak, inbound-only in the AM and out-bound only in the PM. One lane in this center tube is bus-only at that time.

Even assuming you could increase the bus capacity of the tunnel-- then what? The Port Authority Bus Terminal is at capacity. Do these hundreds of extra buses just drop passengers on the city streets? Where do they go once they drop passengers? There's no space in Manhattan to park hundreds of buses to wait for rush hour.

You might honestly be better off figuring out a way to open a temporary ferry transfer station at the ex-PRR Greenville Yard float docks in Bayonne. Or reconnecting the Staten Island Railway to the national network and running the Raritan Valley and North Jersey Coast Line trains into the St. George ferry terminal.

rr503
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by rr503 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:24 pm

Tadman wrote:Also, we've got to kick this "donor state" mentality. 62% of the monies spent federally in the states are for things like social security, retirement benefits, medicaid, etc... versus 18% in the form of grants that, go for things like transportation and housing.

Although the proportions vary from state to state, it means that $2t of the $3t of federal monies go to essentially retirees. With the exception of the older railfans, they don't ride Acela for kicks and they sure don't commute to work on the NY&LB through the Hudson tunnels.
The relevance of this being...? Just because most federal money goes to retirees doesn't mean that all of it needs to.

Greg Moore
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by Greg Moore » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:11 pm

And of course, if the NY economy suffers, those retirees may find their next COLA a bit smaller than they like.
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mtuandrew
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Re: So Mr Trump says...

Post by mtuandrew » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:00 pm

This isn’t my forum to moderate, but last I checked illegal immigration and the Federal, state, local, and business responses to it are only marginally related to Amtrak.

However, the question must be asked: why is a wall a particular issue now and not five, ten, or twenty years ago? Trump could ask for literally any other big-dollar infrastructure project - automating the air traffic control, self-driving guidance on highways, even rebuilt Federal prisons and military bases - and it would be more popular than The Wall.

That’s the difference versus Gateway, and why The Wall can never be a financial pork-barrel trade. Even Mr. Norman’s natural gas jockey in Lander wouldn’t be opposed to the concept of a rail tunnel under the Hudson, whereas a sizeable majority of America is adamantly opposed to this vanity project even if Trump paid for it all out of his own pocket. The closest it ever got to becoming a full-scale reality is when it was part of a comprehensive immigration and civil rights package, because it is a symbol first, a functional barricade second if at all. Even a North River Tunnel collapse wouldn’t sway enough in New York or New Jersey to bend to Trump’s narcissism - though that calculation goes out the window if he manages to win in 11/2020, by hook and by crook.

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