$16 Billion Gateway Tunnel Project Under Hudson River Gets Final Green Light

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Gateway Project receives final green light with $6.88 billion in federal funding. The long-delayed rail tunnel connecting NY and NJ is now set to begin.

The long-delayed $16 billion rail tunnel project connecting New York and New Jersey, Gateway has received the final nod from the federal government that it will be receiving its $6.88 billion full funding agreement.

An agreement for the federal government to pay for most of the $16 billion project means the long-delayed plan is “all systems go,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said.

The Gateway Development Commission spokesperson Steve Sigmund said in an emailed statement, referring to the capital investment grants, ‘The full funding agreement for the $6.88 billion CIG grant completes the $12 billion in federal funding for the Hudson Tunnel Project, the largest ever federal commitment to a mass transit project

The federal grant, the largest ever awarded to a mass-transit infrastructure project in the country, completed the funding puzzle and final green light for the long-delayed tunnel between New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

The project seeks to ease congestion under the Hudson River by adding a new tunnel and making upgrades to the more than a century-old existing tunnel. It’s also a critical update for Amtrak’s busiest route — the Northeast corridor — which carries more than 2,200 daily trains and stretches from Washington to Boston.

It gives planners of the sprawling project the green light to hire engineering and construction companies that will bore through a cliff in North Bergen, N.J., and under the Hudson River.

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Now that the Gateway project has the final green light, when will the work start?

That work could begin as soon as this year and planners scheduled its completion for 2035, said Kris Kolluri, the chief executive of the Gateway Development Commission.

“This is the moment that has eluded this region for literally almost 30 years,” Mr. Kolluri said. “We are essentially at the point of no return.”

The Gateway project represents the second attempt at building an additional rail tunnel to increase capacity and improve the reliability of train service between New York and points west and south. The existing pair of single-track tunnels, which are more than 110 years old, suffered damage from flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The final green light for the Gateway Project paves the way for work to start.

In 2010, work began to make way for a different rail tunnel under the Hudson known as Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC. But before signing a similar funding agreement with the federal Department of Transportation, Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey at the time, canceled the project and returned some money to Washington.

The federal government pledged the $6.88 billion toward Gateway project last year, but leaders had to work out a detailed funding agreement that will include about $600 million annually in the federal budget. On Tuesday, Veronica Vanterpool, the acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, notified leaders in Congress that the administration intended to sign that agreement with Gateway in about two weeks.

Mr. Schumer said that the, Gateway Project’s final green light (grant) would increase the federal funding for the Gateway project to about $12 billion, about 70 percent of its estimated total cost. That total includes about $1 billion from Amtrak, which owns the existing tunnels and Penn Station.

New York and New Jersey will supply the balance, along with any overruns, Mr. Schumer said.

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