Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie on Thursday announced commitments to totally fund New York and New Jersey’s share of the Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project. The project aims to fix the 107-year-old tunnel damaged by seawater during Hurricane Sandy. It serves as the only intercity passenger rail crossing into NYC from NJ, a critical link for 200,000 daily passengers. Although two state officials wrote letters to the U.S. Department of Transportation detailing their combined $5.5 billion funding of the project through various agencies, the Trump administration has not agreed to fund the rest of the $12.7 billion project. As Crain’s reported, a senior official at DOT called the states’ funding commitment “entirely unserious.”
Hudson river tunnel
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.
The two tunnels under the Hudson River that need repair, image via Amtrak
Despite forming an infrastructure task force made up of two New York-based developers, the Trump administration has withdrawn from the board of the Gateway Program, a $23.9 billion project that would add a second rail beneath the Hudson River. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said it is not their “practice to serve in such a capacity on other local transportation projects.” As the number of commuters entering the city from NJ continues to grow, the purpose of the Gateway Program was to double rail capacity between the two states as well as fix the Hudson River tunnel’s crumbling infrastructure, which was damaged by severe flooding during Hurricane Sandy. If one of the two tubes needs to be shut down before a new tunnel is built, train capacity into NY would be reduced by 75 percent.
As 6sqft reported recently, President Trump may include two major New York transportation projects in his proposed budget cuts, including the Gateway Program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem. The Gateway Program, which would add a much-needed second rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and upgrade aging rail infrastructure in New York and New Jersey, has been relying on the federal government for half of its estimated $24 billion cost. WNYC reports that even if the funding is pulled, the agency may look to funding from a public-private partnership.