THE Hudson Tunnel Project should qualify for advancement to the next phase of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grants programme according to Amtrak.

A financial plan was submitted by the Gateway Program Project Partners at the end of August for the project which will include the construction of a new two-track railway tunnel beneath the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey and the refurbishment of the existing 110-year-old North River Tunnel. The third and final section of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing is also to be completed as part of the project.

The project is expected to cost $US 12.3bn of which $US 10.1bn would be for the new tunnel and $US 2.2bn for the refurbishment of the existing tunnel. This is down from the $US 12.7bn cost announced in 2017. However, the prices do represent an increase from last year due to time-driven escalation and continued delay to the start of major construction.

Overall $US 2.3bn has been removed from the original cost estimate including $US 1.4bn based on advanced design work in 2019 and more than $US 900m in property purchase estimates.

The new financial plan recalculates and strengthens financial commitments by project partners based on updated cost estimates accounting for the four-year delay the project encountered during the previous United States government.

Amtrak says major construction of the new tunnel is hoped to begin in August 2023.

“The Hudson Tunnel Project is of the utmost importance to the economic well-being of New Jersey, our region, and our country,” says New Jersey governor, Mr Phil Murphy. “The updated financial plan exhibits the commitment of our state and that of our partners to the commencement and completion of the single largest critical infrastructure project in the United States.

“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration, Amtrak, New York, and the Port Authority to begin construction and to provide reliable rail service while creating tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic benefits to the New Jersey-New York area.”

“All of the partners are fully committed to the Hudson Tunnel Project and have collectively committed to repay more than $US 6bn in Federal loans to support construction,” says Mr Steven Cohen, gateway commission co-chair and New York commissioner. “The project will create thousands of jobs up and down the American supply chain and help stimulate the US economy. We must act without delay.”

“Amtrak remains confident in the success of our partners and in the project’s success,” says Mr Tony Coscia, gateway commission vice-chair and Amtrak commissioner. “Now is the time to move this project to construction once and for all.”

The financial plan seeks approximately $US 5.6bn in FTA Capital Investment Grant funding, approximately 44% of the CIG-eligible project costs. It’s supported by $US 6bn in commitments towards the estimated construction costs by the State of New York, State of New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to support the Commission’s borrowing of low-interest federal loans. Amtrak has contributed $US 1.4bn towards the project’s construction costs.

The Northeast Corridor is the most used passenger line in the United States, with more than 2200 trains per day and 800,000 passenger journeys daily.