THE United States federal government has notified Congress that it plans to award a $US 6.88bn grant to the Gateway Development Commission (GDC) for the Hudson Tunnel project. The project involves building a new twin-bore tunnel for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) beneath the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey.

The funding, which will be allocated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will take the total federal allocation to the project to roughly $US 12bn. State and local grants are meeting the remaining $US 4bn of the $US 16bn cost. The government is required to notify Congress 15 days in advance of officially awarding the Capital Improvement Grant.

The new 4km tunnel beneath the Hudson River will dramatically improve the NEC’s capacity, reliability and resilience. Currently both Amtrak and NJ Transit trains are reliant on the 114-year-old North River Tunnel, which is suffering from reliability problems, exacerbated by extensive flooding in 2012.

Once the project secures the full funding agreement, GDC will enter into a formal contract with the federal government which will act as the final financial commitment for the project, meaning that funding cannot be cancelled if there is a change of administration.

GDC has been pushing for the agreement ahead of this November’s presidential election. Politics has impacted the long-promised scheme in the past - a previous iteration was cancelled by the administration of New Jersey governor, Mr Chris Christie, in 2010. Progress also stalled under former US president, Mr Donald Trump.

GDC, which is overseeing construction of the project, awarded a joint venture of Parsons, Mace and Arcadis a $US 16bn contract to build the new twin-bore tunnel in March. Work is expected to begin in July for completion in 2035.

The Hudson Tunnel project comprises three parts:

  • construction of a new, twin-bore Hudson River rail tunnel between the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey and Manhattan
  • construction of a new track box underneath Hudson Yards in New York City, which will allow trains to travel between the new Hudson River Tunnel and Penn Station, and
  • comprehensive refurbishment of the North River Tunnel..

The Hudson Tunnel project is part of the wider Gateway Programne, which aims to increase capacity on a 16km stretch of the NEC.

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