Thursday, federal officials expressed confidence in the Gateway Development Commission’s efforts thus far to launch the $16.1 billion Hudson River tunnels expansion and replacement project, which bodes well for a future funding grant agreement.
The head of the Federal Transit Administration, Nuria Fernandez, stated that while she could not provide a timeline for when a funding agreement would be reached with the commission — the nascent interstate agency overseeing the first phase of rail projects under the Hudson River — progress is being made.
“The project sponsors have done everything necessary to position themselves for success,” she said, referring to the grant agreement, a crucial document before major construction can commence.
$6.65 Billion Expected from Feds
The agreement specifies the terms of the federal grant, which is estimated to be $6.65 billion, or approximately 45 percent of the total estimated cost of the projects. The remaining balance will be covered by New York, New Jersey, and Amtrak.
The Biden administration has confidence in the project’s leadership, according to Fernandez, and has asked Congress to approve a $700 million allocation for the project, which was included in the president’s budget proposal presented on Thursday.
If this funding is approved, construction will be able to begin shortly after the full funding grant agreement is reached, which the Gateway commission estimates will be in the spring of 2024 if the federal government continues to move swiftly.
$700 Million Down Payment
The $700 million would be the first installment of the available federal grant agreement funding for the project.
The inclusion of $700 million in Biden’s budget proposal, according to Frenandez, is an indication that the administration believes the commission is “identifying their project delivery and their funding commitments from other stakeholders.”
The Trump administration’s political feud with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York, halted progress on the project due to lingering doubts about whether New York and New Jersey would pay their costs.
New Confidence that Nj, Ny Will Pay Their Share
This Narrative Is Beginning to Shift.
New York and New Jersey signed an agreement in July to split the costs of the first phase of the Gateway project, which includes the construction of a replacement for the Portal Bridge, an old swing bridge carrying rail tracks over the Hackensack River near Secaucus; the construction of a new two-tube tunnel into New York Penn Station; and the rehabilitation of the existing 113-year-old tubes.
NJ Turnpike Funds for Train Project
The NJ Transit board is expected to sign an agreement with the state Treasury Department on Monday to transfer $58 million in funds from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to help fund the Gateway commission’s annual budget. Gov. Kathy Hochul included New York’s commitment to the commission budget in her April 1 state budget proposal, which requires legislative approval.
The head of the Gateway Development Commission, Kris Kolluri, stated that progress is being made on all agreements. This is forward momentum and tangible evidence of their dedication.