Pair of decisions by feds boost chances for $11.6 billion Hudson Tunnel project between New York, New Jersey

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December 19, 2018---North Bergen--Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tours the North River Rail Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York Wednesday night December 19, 2018. The North River Tunnels are a pair of tunnels that carry Amtrak and New Jersey Transit rail lines under the Hudson River between Weehawken, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, New York City. As of March 2018, up to $541 million for the Gateway Project, a program to build two additional rail tunnels under the Hudson River, was provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

(The Center Square) – A pair of federal agencies issued the Final Environment Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the multibillion dollar Hudson Tunnel Project.

The move by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) “is a significant milestone for the Gateway Program,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “This long-awaited step brings us much closer to beginning the critical work of constructing the new Hudson Tunnel.”

The Hudson Tunnel carries Amtrak and NJ Transit trains on the Northeast Corridor between New Jersey and New York. The project intends to rehabilitate an existing 110-year-old Amtrak-owned tunnel and build a new tunnel, which trains can use while the existing tunnel is rehabilitated.

On Friday, Craig Schulz, a Gateway Program spokesman, said the Hudson Tunnel Project is expected to cost $11.6 billion. That includes $9.8 billion to construct the new tunnel and $1.8 billion to rehabilitate the existing tunnel’s tubes.

Project leaders are looking to secure roughly $5 billion from the FTA’s New Starts program to supplement a $1.3 billion commitment by Amtrak and more than $5.5 billion from New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“The Hudson Tunnel Project will improve resiliency and reliability in the heart of the Northeast Corridor, positively impacting the lives of thousands of daily commuters and intercity passengers,” Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said in a news release. “Along with the expansion of Penn Station New York, the Portal North Bridge Project and other improvements, the Hudson Tunnel Project is an essential and long overdue first step toward replacing the existing configuration with a fully integrated, modernized 4-track railroad.”

The FRA started the environmental review process required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) in May 2016. The current Hudson River Tunnel has two tubes, each with a single track, and extends about 2½ miles from North Bergen, New Jersey, to Penn Station in New York City.

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