A new financial plan has been submitted to the Federal Transit Administration to support the inclusion of the Hudson Tunnel project in the CIG (Capital Investments Grant) program; the project is a segment of the Gateway program on the northeast corridor.
Gateway Program project partners, which include New York and New Jersey Port Authority (PANYNJ), Gateway Development Commission, Gateway Program Development Corp., New Jersey Transit, New Jersey States and New York and Amtrak, provided documentation to FTA on Aug. 27, in support of its request that the project be included in the US Department of Transportation’s FY2023 budget proposal for the CIG program.
In May, FTA and the Federal Railroad Administration released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIA) and Decision Report (ROD) for the politically controversial portion of the Gateway program’s Hudson Tunnel project – blocked by the administration but quickly saved and advanced by the Biden administration.
The $ 12.3 billion project covers, for funding and financing purposes, the construction of a new two-track rail tunnel under the Hudson River; complete rehabilitation of the existing 110-year-old North River tunnel; and the completion of the third and final section of the Hudson Yards concrete casing.
The current tunnel system is 111 years old (built by the Pennsylvania Railroad as part of the New York City Improvement Program) and was damaged in 2012 by Super Storm Sandy. About 450 NJ Transit and Amtrak trains pass through the tunnels every day of the week, and before COVID-19 hit, there were about 200,000 daily passenger trips.
The new financial plan (download the plan below) “recalculates and reinforces the financial commitments of the project partners on the basis of an updated cost estimate taking into account the four-year delay of the project during the previous administration According to the announcement from Gateway Program Development Corp. . Major construction of the new tunnel is expected to begin in August 2023 and the construction cost of the Hudson Tunnel project is estimated at $ 12.3 billion, including $ 10.1 billion for the new tunnel and $ 2.2 billion for complete rehabilitation of the existing tunnel.
The construction cost estimate is down from the 2017 price of $ 12.7 billion, but represents an increase over 2020 “due to the escalation in time and the continued need to push back the schedule for the start of major construction, ”said Gateway Program Development Corp. “Overall, project partners have withdrawn over $ 2 billion from the cost estimate, including $ 1.4 billion based on advanced design work in the 2019 dossier and over $ 900 million dollars in property acquisition estimates since Amtrak was able to acquire a major Manhattan property in recent weeks, changing rapidly after the US Department of Transportation finalized its environmental review under the new administration.
“Partners are also committed to aggressively managing costs and schedule during procurement and construction of the project, incentivizing contractors and seeking early work opportunities to further mitigate cost and schedule risks. “.
The new financial plan targets around $ 5.6 billion in CIG funding, or around 44% of CIG eligible project costs. The states of New York and New Jersey and PANYNJ have made more than $ 6 billion in estimated construction cost commitments “to support the [Gateway Development] The Federal Loans Commission borrowing at low interest rates, “according to Gateway Program Development Corp., which also reported that Amtrak has” strengthened and demonstrated its commitment to contribute $ 1.4 billion towards construction costs of the project “.
“Construction of the Hudson Tunnel project cannot begin soon enough for the thousands of NJ Transit customers who must continue to rely on the century-old tunnel on a daily basis,” said Balpreet Grewal-Virk, Gateway commission co-chair and commissioner of the New Jersey. “This financial plan is a major step in finally putting shovels in the ground and getting down to work to build the rail infrastructure we need for the economy of the future. “
“Amtrak is pleased to have maintained its commitment to the Hudson Tunnel project by completing the acquisition of the New York property required for a future ventilation and emergency evacuation shaft,” said Tony Coscia, vice Chairman of the Gateway Commission and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak.
Other phases of the Gateway program include the replacement of sawtooth bridges on the NEC between Newark Penn Station and Secaucus Junction; the expansion of Penn Station in Manhattan; the expansion and modification of the Secaucus Junction station and the addition of loop lanes (Bergen / Secaucus Loop) in New Jersey; the construction of the Portal Sud bridge; and other items to complete a modernized four-track railroad from Newark Penn Station to Penn Station in Manhattan.