Happening Now

New York’s Aging Hudson Tunnels Represent Catastrophic “Single Point-of-Failure” To US Economy

June 1, 2016

Release #16-14

For Immediate Release (#16-14)


Robert Brady – (202) 680-4951

NARP Head Jim Matthews Warns of Potential “Transportation Meltdown” Without Urgent Action

Washington, D.C. – In support of the Hudson Tunnel Project and fast-tracking approvals for the venture, Jim Mathews, President and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), issued a letter that calls on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and NJ Transit to prevent a “transportation meltdown” in the greater New York area. The project, which is critical to supporting transportation in New York, as well as the national rail network, could end up being a long-term nightmare and pose significant risk and delays to commuters.

“Each day the Hudson tunnels carry a staggering 24,000 riders on 100 Amtrak trains, plus 90,000 weekday riders on 350 NJ Transit trains. Nearly 30% of Amtrak’s national annual ridership passes through these tunnels. Not only does this make these tunnels a vital link in the national network, but also a fragile “single point-of-failure” whose neglect carries consequences for the entire U.S. economy,” stated Mathews in the letter. “Given the importance of these tunnels to the entire East Coast transportation system and to passenger rail, NARP strongly urges the government to proceed as expeditiously as possible, within the confines of applicable law, to begin desperately needed and long-overdue construction of new tunnels.”

As the project unfolds, there is fear of a serious and long-term disruption to commuters, who rely on the tunnels on a daily basis. New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) described the situation as a potential “transportation Armageddon.” As a result of potential long-term disruption NARP also supports rapid construction and the expedited approval of an environmental review.

As an advocacy group working on behalf of more than 29,000 members, and more than 40 million fare-paying passengers nationwide, NARP sees the Hudson Tunnel Project as the most important infrastructure initiative in the greater New York region in decades. The letter offers NARP an opportunity to voice concerns on the behalf of its members, as well as support for “A Connected America,” a multi-year initiative to promote long-distance, intercity rail, commuter trains, light rail, transit and even bike share.

The letter was delivered to the FRA’s Amishi Castelli, Ph.D. and NJ Transit’s Senior Program Manager RJ Palladino. The full text of the letter can be viewed online at www.narprail.org.

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.