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$117 Billion Improvement Plan Announced For Northeast Corridor

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Northeast Corridor Commission released a 15-year plan of rail improvements Wednesday that would replace crumbling infrastructure and speed up travel times.

But as CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, it needs Congress to pass a big spending package to get it done.

It's called Connect NEC 2035 or C35, proposed upgrades along the 450-mile Northeast Corridor, totaling 150 projects.

"The corridor is lined with aging assets from Washington to Boston, bridges and tunnels dating back to the 1800s with track, signal and power systems that are past their useful life," NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett said.

Which can translate into delays.

Some of the projects include the Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey.

"We're in the bid process right now and we expect to reward that by end of the year," said Corbett, who is also the co-chair of the NEC Commission.

From there, it will take about five years. The project also includes repairing the North River Tunnel. Both fall under the Gateway Program.

In addition, "Four new Metro-North stations in the Bronx," said Ron Epstein, the executive deputy commissioner and CFO of the New York State Department of Transportation.

"C35 will allow Amtrak to grow service by a third. It will allow some commuter agencies to double service. It will achieve 30-minute reductions in trip time for Amtrak service between Washington and New York, and Boston and New York," Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said.

Eight states and the District of Columbia, nine operators, and the federal government worked together on the plan, which also calls for the creation of about 1.7 million jobs, Gainer reported.

But with a price tag of $117 billion and only $17 billion of it identified right now, there are questions as to who will pay for the rest.

"Federal transit, federal railroad funding. In the case of some of the projects, there's Amtrak and then state DOTs," Federal Transit Administration administrator Nuria Fernandez said.

As funding becomes available, projects will be completed in phases, officials said.

It's not clear how much of the $66 billion proposed for rails in the Senate bipartisan infrastructure deal would go towards the plan.

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