Nearly complete tunnels under Hudson Yards need more funding to finish

Posted On Fri, July 21, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, July 21, 2017 By In hudson yards, New Jersey, Policy, Transportation

Photo of Hudson Yards Amtrak tunnel encasement via Tutor Perini

Currently, the first part of two box tunnels under the Hudson Yards development, below 10th and 11th Avenues on Manhattan’s west side, sits mostly finished. While construction of the final piece has yet to begin, when it’s complete the remaining section would link the tubes to the proposed new tunnel under the Hudson River, providing better access to Penn Station. However, according to the New York Times, both tunnel projects, which fall under the multi-billion dollar Gateway Program, lack the funding needed to finish.

hudson yards tunnel, gateway program
Photo of Hudson Yards Amtrak tunnel encasement via Tutor Perini

The two box tunnels under the Hudson Yards development are the Gateway Project’s first phase to be finished, just one part of the $23.9 billion project to better connect New Jersey and New York. The plan also calls for main bridges to be rebuilt and for the expansion of tracks at Penn Station. Construction of the Hudson Yards tunnels began in 2013 after Amtrak preserved a right of way under the Hudson Yards project to make sure the railroad would connect the proposed new tunnels under the river with existing infrastructure at Penn Station.

After New Jersey Governor Christie suddenly canceled a proposal to build a Hudson tunnel that would run along 34th Street, Senator Schumer and Amtrak worked together to preserve other pathways to Penn along the western side of Manhattan. Four years and $250 million later, the first and second sections of the tunnel are complete and ready to be installed. While the third and final piece has been designed, significant funding is still required in order to progress.

As 6sqft recently covered, the Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit released a report earlier this month that said constructing the new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and repairing the existing one could cost nearly $13 billion, a large increase from the original $7.7 billion estimate. While transit officials are moving forward with the project to upgrade the Hurricane Sandy-damaged, 100-year-old tunnel, the Trump administration has yet to commit funding for the project, putting its completion at risk. Plus, the U.S. Transportation Department recently withdrew as a member of the Gateway Corporation board, a nonprofit group that oversees the project and is made up of current and former federal, Amtrak, NJ Transit and Port Authority officials.

The interim director of the Gateway Program Development Corp., has said without federal funding, it would be nearly impossible to move forward. “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.”

Although federal funding for the project remains unknown, some New Jersey representatives have worked to put funding toward its construction. U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, recently earmarked $900 million for the project.

[Via NY Times]

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