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After Penn Station Repairs, Gateway Tunnel Is Next Worry

Transit expert says sword of Damocles hangs over region because construction of Gateway tunnels is so far off

The first day of major track repairs by Amtrak at New York Penn Station went off relatively smoothly for NJ Transit. This was because “NJ Transit had a straight forward plan and they executed it very well,” said Martin Robins, former deputy executive director of NJ Transit.

Asked whether Amtrak’s Labor Day deadline for completing the work at Penn Station can be met, Robins who is founding director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, said, “Amtrak’s performance is not always perfect when it comes to capital improvements and timetables, but let’s cross our finger and hope…” Robins was speaking to Mary Alice Williams of NJTV News.

Unfortunately, the Penn Station repairs are not the end of transit problems in the region, Robins warned. In fact, he said, given that the proposed Gateway tunnels between New York and New Jersey will not be built until 2026 at the earliest, “That means we have this sword of Damocles hanging over our head that the deterioration from Superstorm Sandy is going to cause some terrific outage. And every day, people in the transit business in New Jersey are going to say their prayers that nothing bad happens.”

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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