Federal Government Pledges Nearly $7 Billion On New Tunnel Connecting New Jersey And New York

In an announcement made on Thursday, the Federal Transit Administration revealed that the Gateway Tunnel project is set to enter its engineering phase, receiving a significant push from the federal government. This major milestone comes hand in hand with an anticipated funding of $6.88 billion, marking the largest federal transportation grant ever awarded to a single project.

The Gateway Development Commission outlined the project’s three main components as follows:

  1. A fresh two-track Hudson River rail tunnel will be constructed, connecting the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan, directly servicing New York Penn Station. This tunnel will cater to trains operated by Amtrak and NJ Transit.
  2. Underneath New York’s Hudson Yards, a third and final rail right-of-way preservation section will be built. This section will eventually enable trains to travel between the new Hudson River Tunnel and the existing Penn Station New York.
  3. The existing tunnel beneath the Hudson River, plagued by suboptimal service reliability and an outdated design, suffered severe damage during Superstorm Sandy. It will undergo rehabilitation. The Gateway Tunnel is part of a larger plan aimed at relieving the congestion on the Northeast Corridor, one of the nation’s most notorious railway bottlenecks. Additional work includes the construction of new Portal North and South Bridges over the Hackensack River in New Jersey, as well as several other smaller upgrades between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station.

The overall cost of the comprehensive Gateway Project has now risen to approximately $17.18 billion, surpassing earlier estimates of $16 billion. Nevertheless, supporters argue that the price tag is well justified.

Initially greenlit during the administration of former President Barack Obama, the Gateway Project faced obstacles during the Trump administration. However, it regained momentum after President Biden took office and has achieved several significant milestones since then.

Last summer, the governors of New York and New Jersey signed an agreement ensuring a 50-50 split in funding the Gateway tunnel project. At the time, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Governor Kathy Hochul of New York pledged to aggressively pursue additional federal funding through President Biden’s transformative infrastructure package.

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