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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has revealed three ambitious programs that would result in major improvements to the 457-mile Northeast Corridor, the busiest commuter rail line in the country. If the programs go into effect, commuters would be able to travel between Washington, D.C., and Boston at 220 mph, and Long Island commuters would be able to travel via tunnel straight to Connecticut and points north rather than traveling through New York City.

Amtrak and regional lines such as New Jersey Transit often experience lengthy delays due to 100-year-old infrastructure and crowded tracks. Construction of new rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York has been a contentious issue since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug on a $9 billion tunnel project, citing potential cost overruns. Amtrak, which owns the tracks along the Northeast Corridor, is seeking funding for a new tunnel project that would not begin for another 10 years.

While work on aging infrastructure up and down the corridor would proceed regardless of the fate of a new tunnel, the expanded capacity would be crucial to any of the major projects, the FRA says.

In 2015, more public comments will be solicited on the proposals, and a draft environmental impact study will be released in the fall.

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