Brooklyn Boro

Officials move ahead with $6.88B Hudson Rail Tunnel Project

July 10, 2024 Raanan Geberer
President Joe Biden speaks at the construction site of the Hudson Tunnel Project in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, during an event on infrastructure. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
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On Monday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and assorted state and federal officials signed a $6.88 billion full-funding grant agreement for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel project.

The on-again, off-again Gateway project would build two new Amtrak rail tunnels under the Hudson River and rehabilitate the two existing tunnels (also used by NJ Transit), which are more than 100 years old.

This current underground segment between New York and New Jersey is the most heavily-used rail route in the entire Amtrak system, but it has reached its limit of 24 trains per hour. Gateway would double that number.

The grant came from the Federal Transit Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that helps local public transportation systems.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and other hold up a huge mock-up of a check for more than $6 billion “for America’s most urgent transit infrastructure project.” Photos by Don Pollard of Gov. Hochul’s Office
U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and other hold up a huge mock-up of a check for more than $6 billion “for America’s most urgent transit infrastructure project.” Photos by Don Pollard of Gov. Hochul’s Office

“The original deal was that the federal government would pay 50%,” Schumer said. “We [the federal government] are now paying 70%, so that means less expenses for New York and New Jersey taxpayers.”

He added that “Construction has already begun on both sides of the Hudson… In New York, we go big!”

The project seemed close to fruition in 2010 when then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug on New Jersey funding on the grounds that New York and the feds were not paying their fair share.

Former New York Gov. Cuomo, too, may not have been totally on board with the idea. In 2020, according to Politico, he praised a report by London Bridge Associates, a consultant, saying that priority should be given to repairing the existing tunnels on nights and weekends before building new tunnels under the Hudson.

Turning to the Trump era, Schumer said, “President Trump told me he’d consider funding the Gateway project is we funded the wall. I told him, `NFW! We’ll build it ourselves!’” What Schumer meant by “NFW,” we will leave to our readers.

Hochul, alluding to past disagreements over the project, said, “Don’t take for granted that it’s easy between two states. For example, we love New Jersey, New Jersey loves New York. But sometimes it’s like brothers and sisters. Anybody come from a big family? You know what I’m talking about.”

Addressing the magnitude and complexity of the planned Gateway Tunnels, she exclaimed, “This is an engineering project on the scope of the Erie Canal.”

Several speakers pointed out that the project won’t only impact people traveling from Manhattan to Trenton or Newark. Any Amtrak trip from New York to Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. must travel under the Hudson.

Applause, however, wasn’t universal in the New York community. While not opposing the tunnel plan, Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance said in a statement:

“Governor Hochul’s congestion pricing betrayal is wasting time and money. Gateway will cost double the prior tunnel plan that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blocked.

“As the governor cheers one project, her flip-flop lost New York the biggest ever federal capital investment grant, which would have built the Second Avenue subway to East Harlem. While wooing suburbanites, who hate her, the governor has abandoned millions of city bus and subway riders.”


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