Hudson River tunnel project’s price tag jumps nearly 50 percent to $13 billion

Posted On Fri, July 7, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, July 7, 2017 By In Policy, Transportation

According to a report released Thursday by the federal government, constructing a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repairing the existing one could cost nearly $13 billion, almost a 50 percent increase from an earlier $7.7 billion estimate. Transit officials say they are moving forward with the project because of its urgency; the two-track tunnel, which takes Amtrak riders and NJ Transit commuters to and from New York City, is over 100 years old and was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. According to Crain’s, the report, which evaluated the plan’s environmental and economic impacts, follows the recent withdrawal of the U.S. Transportation Department from the Gateway corporation board.

Developed by the Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit, the report projected that the Hudson River tunnel project could cost anywhere from $11.7 to $12.98 billion. John Porcari, the interim director of the Gateway Program Development Corp., said about $11.2 billion would be needed for the new shaft and $1.7 billion for repairing the old tunnel. Porcari said this new estimate differs from previous ones because of increased security, excavation and refurbishment costs.

In addition to the tunnels, the broader Gateway Program includes replacing the Portal Bridge, an outdated infrastructure that causes constant delays and expanding Penn Station. The overall cost of the project increased to $29.1 billion from $23.9 billion. As 6sqft recently covered, the U.S. DOT pulled out from the program’s board and said their decision “underscores the department’s commitment to ensuring there is no appearance of prejudice or partiality in favor of these projects ahead of hundreds of other projects nationwide.”

While the Obama administration made the project a priority by fast-tracking its review process and committing half of the funding for the program, President Trump proposed eliminating a $750 million grant for its construction. Despite maintaining its local funding, without federal support, the project will have trouble proceeding.

“It’s really important to point out that any project of national significance like Gateway, which is literally a linchpin not just for the region’s but the nation’s economy, cannot move forward without a federal funding partner,” Porcari said.”It’s the most urgent infrastructure project in America.”

[Via Crain’s]

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