Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

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hs3730
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by hs3730 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:04 am

In this era of cashless tolling there's no longer a logistical reason to do the one-way tolling at the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Change it to $8 each way plus $5 "new rail tunnel" fee for non-buses and we'll fund Gateway in no time.

EuroStar
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by EuroStar » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:07 am

electricron wrote: $10 Billion / 1.131 = $8.84
$15 Billion / 1.131 = $13.26
$20 Billion / 1.131 = $17.68
$25 Billion / 1.131 = $22.10
That’s before taking into account for an increase in ridership year after year,.
But I believe it is okay to assume ridership through the tunnels would not double. I doubt Pennsylvania Station could handle a doubling of ridership without expansion, another cost to calculate a surcharge for.

I do not think NJT could charge a $13 surcharge each way ($26 a day) in addition to regular fares.
Even a $3 surcharge in each direction will collapse NJT's ridership. Most of the ridership is from the closer stations such as Montclair or closer, Maplewood or closer, Fairlawn/Clifton or closer, Rahway or closer. Adding $3 per ticker on a ticket that costs $7 or so is a big jump and will meaningfully cut the number of passengers. The one place with large ridership where the surcharge might not have much of a negative effect is Princeton/Hamilton as the fares are already quite high, the driving is long and the population is generally better off and able to afford the added cost.

Hamhock
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Hamhock » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:52 am

hs3730 wrote:In this era of cashless tolling there's no longer a logistical reason to do the one-way tolling at the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Change it to $8 each way plus $5 "new rail tunnel" fee for non-buses and we'll fund Gateway in no time.
I personally have always enjoyed New Jersey's "you can enter for free, but you have to pay to escape" image.

Defiant
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Defiant » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:20 am

EuroStar wrote:
electricron wrote: $10 Billion / 1.131 = $8.84
$15 Billion / 1.131 = $13.26
$20 Billion / 1.131 = $17.68
$25 Billion / 1.131 = $22.10
That’s before taking into account for an increase in ridership year after year,.
But I believe it is okay to assume ridership through the tunnels would not double. I doubt Pennsylvania Station could handle a doubling of ridership without expansion, another cost to calculate a surcharge for.

I do not think NJT could charge a $13 surcharge each way ($26 a day) in addition to regular fares.
Even a $3 surcharge in each direction will collapse NJT's ridership. Most of the ridership is from the closer stations such as Montclair or closer, Maplewood or closer, Fairlawn/Clifton or closer, Rahway or closer. Adding $3 per ticker on a ticket that costs $7 or so is a big jump and will meaningfully cut the number of passengers. The one place with large ridership where the surcharge might not have much of a negative effect is Princeton/Hamilton as the fares are already quite high, the driving is long and the population is generally better off and able to afford the added cost.
The $3 surcharge will collapse NJT ridership to where? Thousands of people who go to Manhattan every day will get in their own cars to rot in traffic near the approaches to Manhattan? Especially considering the long term work on Lincoln tunnel helix? And then pay at least $300 a month in Manhattan parking, bridge tools, gas tolls as well as the costs of car's wear and tear? There will undoubtedly be some people who will make this choice but I doubt the number will be significant. It might make the trains less crowded. But I agree that a $3 surcharge on a 7 - 9 dollar ticket is a lot. 1 - 2 dollars is more reasonable.
Also, I think most NJT ridership is on the NEC line, not on Hoboken division...

electricron
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by electricron » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:26 am

electricron wrote:Sounds reasonable! Let us do some math....(FY 2017 as posted by Wiki)
Yearly NJT ridership for NYC Pennsylvania Station = 27,296,100
Yearly Amtrak ridership for NYC Pennsylvania Station = 10,397,729
Assuming all Amtrak riders use the tunnels under the Hudson River (which Is not true) -
Total riders using these tunnels are 37,693,829.
In 30 years that would add up to a total of 1,130,815,000, for simplicity let us round that up to 1.131 Billion.
Depending upon how much the new tunnels would cost, and assuming the surcharge would pay the costs to build the new tunnel in 30 years, each rider would have to pay the following surcharge;
$10 Billion / 1.131 = $8.84
$15 Billion / 1.131 = $13.26
$20 Billion / 1.131 = $17.68
$25 Billion / 1.131 = $22.10
That’s before taking into account for an increase in ridership year after year,.
But I believe it is okay to assume ridership through the tunnels would not double. I doubt Pennsylvania Station could handle a doubling of ridership without expansion, another cost to calculate a surcharge for.

I do not think NJT could charge a $13 surcharge each way ($26 a day) in addition to regular fares.

I also wish to add how important it is for construction projects to finish on time and on budget.
Upon looking at this a second time, I realize 30 years may be too short a time period. There are privately funded toll managed lanes in Texas that look at 50 years to finance bonds, so let us look at again using 50 years....
Riders using the new tunnels over 50 years is now 37,693,829 x 50 = 1,884,691,000.
$10 Billion / 1.885 (rounding up) = $5.30 surcharge
$15 Billion / 1.885 = $7.96 surcharge
$20 Billion / 1.885 = $10.61 surcharge
$25 Billion / 1.885 = $13.26 surcharge.

Slightly better looking surcharges, but still too steep for daily commuters.

The only feasible way for NJT to place the costs on riders and keep it affordable for most riders is to charge a surcharge on every rider, not on just those using the new tunnel. Total NJT ridership for FY 2017 was 265 million passengers, almost ten times more than its ridership at NYC Pennsylvania Station. That would reduce the surcharge it needs to charge by 90%.
By making the pool of surcharge payers larger, the surcharge amount becomes smaller.

jp1822
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by jp1822 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:59 pm

All very nice suggestions on a "surcharge" - but isn't the larger picture really upping the gas tax in NJ to truly make for a sustainable transportation fund in NJ, one that can cover and make all dreams come true!

bdawe
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by bdawe » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:56 pm

jp1822 wrote:All very nice suggestions on a "surcharge" - but isn't the larger picture really upping the gas tax in NJ to truly make for a sustainable transportation fund in NJ, one that can cover and make all dreams come true!
I think the bigger picture is sustainable road pricing, but also a sustainable tackling of infrastructure costs such that NJ and NY only have expensive-by-first-world-standards infrastructure rather than order-of-magnitude-most-expensive infrastructure
B. Dawe's map of routes and urban populations https://brendandawe.carto.com/viz/80b9d ... /embed_map" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; NOW updated with 2016 Canadian Populations

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by gokeefe » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:54 pm

I think the broader point is that this discussion is a really good reminder of the fact that the economies of both NY and NJ are more than sufficient in size to handle funding for this project.
gokeefe

electricron
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by electricron » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:20 pm

gokeefe wrote:I think the broader point is that this discussion is a really good reminder of the fact that the economies of both NY and NJ are more than sufficient in size to handle funding for this project.
Yes, but over budget and late construction projects will take a toll on other projects.

Greg Moore
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Greg Moore » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:25 pm

A surcharge for tunnel users is not a bad idea, but it also doesn't necessarily have to pay the entire price either.

Even just $1 each way would make the funding a bit more palatable.
You're also ignoring inflation, which means in a decade, you can charge $2 each way (which you'll have to since you have to include interest in your original costs).

Also, it doesn't have to be flat:
$1/per trip for NJ Transit
$3/per trip for Amtrak regional
$6/per trip for Acela

As for gas tax... it's gonna have to happen, nationwide, for a variety of reasons, but a) we don't have the political will and b) it's a stop gap as more and more cars will get better gas mileage or not even use gas.
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mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:31 am

Mr. Moore raises interesting points about a tunnel tax, and beyond which I wouldn’t be surprised if NYC adds a congestion tax and/or a surcharge on gasoline-powered cars in Manhattan within the next ten years. The Gateway Tunnel and North River Tunnel Renovation should have a piece of that funding, some state and PANYNJ funding, a graduated fare surcharge as suggested ($1/3/6 sounds reasonable), a piece of Amtrak’s capital budget, and straight Federal funding.

There, let’s get started.

Greg Moore
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by Greg Moore » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:30 am

mtuandrew wrote:Mr. Moore raises interesting points about a tunnel tax, and beyond which I wouldn’t be surprised if NYC adds a congestion tax and/or a surcharge on gasoline-powered cars in Manhattan within the next ten years. The Gateway Tunnel and North River Tunnel Renovation should have a piece of that funding, some state and PANYNJ funding, a graduated fare surcharge as suggested ($1/3/6 sounds reasonable), a piece of Amtrak’s capital budget, and straight Federal funding.

There, let’s get started.
Thanks.
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JamesRR
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by JamesRR » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:44 pm

This was just approved in the Port Authority's latest budget - not sure what "support" means but I found it interesting they had a line item for it:

$17 million to continue to support the planning activities for the Gateway passenger rail tunnel project.[/list]

ExCon90
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by ExCon90 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:00 pm

As to a surcharge, it occurs to me on reading a thread in the Metro North forum that there is a precedent of long standing for that -- always an advantage where railroads are involved. The New York Connecting assessed a toll of I believe 50 cents per passenger on trips going beyond New York to the West and South (it was waived on journeys from New England points terminating at New York, to stay competitive with trains to GCT). The toll was built into the ticket price, whether from Boston to Washington or Stamford to Newark. (Thanks to Dutch for pointing out that the New York Connecting reached New Rochelle.)
Last edited by ExCon90 on Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Gateway Tunnels

Post by gokeefe » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:23 pm

Supporting planning activities on this type of project probably means "pay Amtrak for preliminary engineering". It's "support" because they aren't the only one paying for it.
gokeefe

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