The U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the Hudson River Tunnel project linking New York and New Jersey which will revitalise and expand the Northeast Rail Corridor (NEC).
The approval gives the green light to the project to enter the engineering phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants (CIG) programme. Once all financial, technical, and legal requirements are completed, FTA’s anticipated funding commitment to the Hudson River Tunnel project will be USD 6.88 billion, subject to the annual appropriation of funds by Congress. The overall project cost is approximately USD 17.18 billion.
Once the project begins, it is expected to create more than 72,000 American jobs in the region. “Every day, 200,000 people pass through the North River Tunnel, and a closure affects not just the entire Northeast Corridor, but the entire country. Today, we are proud to announce that the Hudson River Tunnel project is entering the engineering phase, moving us a huge step closer to finally revitalizing and expanding this century-old piece of American infrastructure,” the U.S. Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
The Hudson River Tunnel project is part of the Gateway programme, a series of strategic infrastructure investments designed to improve rail service in New York and New Jersey.
The project covers the construction of a new double-track rail tunnel from the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan, directly serving New York Penn Station and rehabilitating the existing North River Tunnel. Additionally, as part of the construction, nearly 5,000 new affordable housing units will be created in the adjacent Hudson Yards. The project will improve New Jersey Transit and Amtrak service for a region that impacts more than 20 percent of the nation’s economy. If the North River tunnel were to shut down for one day, it would cost the United States more than USD 100 million.
The tunnel project is particularly critical because the existing North River Tunnel serving Penn Station is more than 110 years old and was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. While the tunnel has been repaired frequently, its age and damaged condition present reliability concerns for more than 200,000 people who travel through the tunnel on more than 400 trains every weekday. According to a study by the Northeast Corridor Commission, commuters in 2020 were delayed more than 210 hours due to maintenance issues.
At the beginning of 2023, the President Joe Biden USD 292 million grant to Amtrak for Hudson Yards Concrete Casing, implemented under the Hudson Tunnel project.