Published: Sat, December 16, 2017
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Governors push for federal share of gateway project

Governors push for federal share of gateway project

The governors of NY and New Jersey on Thursday committed to fund 100 percent of their share of the Hudson River Gateway Tunnel rail project.

The commitment from the governors follows a 2015 framework agreement in which the federal government will fund 50% of the Gateway Tunnel project.

Under a framework he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put forward, NY will provide $1.75 billion for the Gateway Program, New Jersey Transit will pay $1.9 billion and the Port Authority $1.9 billion. The project would allow the advancement of a long-stalled dual-track rail tunnel under the Hudson River, a project considered by policymakers to be of enormous regional significance.

The $12.7 billion Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project will construct a new two track tunnel and eventually rehabilitate the existing Amtrak North River Tunnel which suffered significant damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Christie, citing potential cost overruns, previously canceled a $8.7 billion tunnel project in 2010. "Together, with the rehabilitation of the existing tunnel, this project will result in the crucial Northeast Corridor having four tracks between New Jersey and NY under the Hudson River, allowing for increased ridership in the future".

"It positions the project to immediately compete for federal Capital Investment Grant funds", said Christie.

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"You wait until the last minute to take action, and then you settle for some deal that got cut in a back room somewhere so that one side or one politician or another gets a win without regard for the impact that it may have".

The Gateway Tunnel project is critically important to the long-term vitality of the Northeast region, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

However, New York State is now dealing with a budget crisis, facing a projected $4.4 billion deficit that must be eliminated before Cuomo releases a new budget in January. "New York State is stepping up to fund its share of the financial commitment as we rebuild our infrastructure all across the state. Now the federal government must fulfill its commitment to fund the other half and make this urgent, long-overdue project a reality".

NY won't hit up its riders for the money, instead using a Federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement loan that NY would repay over 35 years.

It is unknown what President Trump's administration will provide to the Gateway Project, but his $1 trillion infrastructure plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks, Politico reported Thursday.

Were that to happen, the number of rush-hour trains would plummet from 24 per hour to six if one of the tunnel's two tubes had to be closed for repairs.

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