New Jersey lawmakers crossed the river Jan. 31 as President Joe Biden announced more funding for the Gateway Tunnel Project in New York City.
As part of the infrastructure law passed by the last Congress, New York will receive $292 million from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance discretionary grant program to complete a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project.
The grantfor the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing is part of a $649 million early phase project that will complete the final section of concrete casing intended to preserve future right-of-way for the new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The concrete casing protects the path of the new tunnel from Penn Station to the Hudson River’s edge.
New Train Tunnel
This is the latest allocation from the federal government for the rail project now estimated to cost $16 billion to replace the existing North River Tunnel that opened for service in 1910 and was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Rehabilitation of the tunnel would require a full closure, which will only be possible if a second tunnel exists.
Besides rehabilitating the old North River Tunnel, the project will build a new tunnel beneath the Palisades, the Hudson River, and the waterfront area in Manhattan; construct new surface alignment from Secaucus to the new tunnel portal in North Bergen; construct ventilation shafts and fan plants in New Jersey and New York; and make track modifications near Penn Station.
“When the project is done, the redundant capacity provided by a second tunnel will mean fewer delays and less risk for catastrophic disruption,” said Biden.
Lawmakers who spoke, including Gov. Phil Murphy and Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, stressed the national importance to the economy of having a functional rail service for the East Coast corridor and specifically New York and New Jersey as well as cutting down commuting delays.
Democrats noted that Republicans, specifically for Gov. Chris Christie and President Donald Trump, the project was pushed aside for other priorities. For the Biden Administration, the project is a top priority.
“Just the Beginning”
“Our journey since that first press conference in 2011 has been long and winding, but today, it brings me great immense pleasure to say — we’re getting it done,” said Menendez.
The project is part of the larger Gateway Program which envisions expanding and rebuilding the rail line between Newark, New Jersey and New York City through a number of projects, including the new Portal North Bridge, which broke ground last year and is supported by $900 million in federal funding.
“This is just the beginning,” promised Biden. “This is the most significant investment in rail since we created Amtrak.”
Money from Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
The President credited the work of both state’s governors and congressional delegations in making the project a priority and specifically cited Rep. Josh Gottheimer work in getting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed.
“After years of hard work, this is a huge win for Jersey to finally begin work on the Hudson River Tunnel project — a key step to completing the Gateway Train Tunnel,” said Gottheimer in a press statement. “This tunnel is a top priority for the completion of the Gateway Train Tunnel and it will help residents spend more time with their families by commuting on faster, more reliable trains, create new jobs, and ensure Jersey’s economy is stronger and safer — by removing our reliance on a more than 100-year-old-tunnel plagued with bottlenecks and delays.”