New Jersey's transit agency has formally agreed to conduct environmental studies for a proposed new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

NJ Transit train at Penn Station, NYC (Annette Petriccione, Townsquare Media)

New Jersey Transit's board approved the memorandum of agreement with Amtrak at its monthly board meeting Wednesday.

An environmental impact study is required before the project moves to the construction phase and can take two to three years. The study conducted by NJ Transit will focus on the area between Secaucus Junction and the existing tunnel.

A new tunnel is considered critical for the New York area. The current 105-year-old tunnel is already at capacity and is a source of frequent delays.

Amtrak officials have said one of the two tubes will eventually have to be taken out of service to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy.


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