Gateway Hudson River Tunnel Project pushes forward under Biden-Harris administration


The Biden-Harris Administration has taken a significant step in advancing the Gateway Hudson River Tunnel project into the next phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program.

The project, a long-overdue $17.18 billion investment, plans to construct a new Hudson River Tunnel between New York and New Jersey and rehabilitate the existing 110-year-old rail tunnel which is integral for 200,000 daily passenger trips on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor.

Entering the Engineering phase, the Gateway Development Commission (GDC) can commence early operations such as utility relocations, important real estate acquisitions, demolition, procurement of specialized equipment and materials, and further design. The GDC may also seek pre-award authority from the FTA for specific construction activities. If the project sponsor fulfils all CIG statutory requirements of the Engineering phase, including securing non-federal matching funds, the administration will consider a Full Funding Grant Agreement awarding up to $6.88 billion for the project.

Advancements in the Gateway Hudson River Tunnel Project: An investment to enhance US rail transit

Advancements in the Gateway Hudson River Tunnel Project: An investment to enhance US rail transit. Photo courtesy of Izthewiz12/Wikimedia Commons.

The grant, the largest commitment under the CIG program to date, could potentially be the most significant allocation under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The funding is made possible through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, contributing to the growth of the American economy by rebuilding infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private sector investments in the United States, and creating good-paying jobs.

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The overall Gateway Hudson River Tunnel project aims to enhance resilience, reliability, and redundancy for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train service between New York and New Jersey. Expected to reduce commute times for NJ Transit riders and enhance Amtrak reliability on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the project supports the northeast regional economy. An estimated 72,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created during construction through union partnerships for job training.

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The existing North River Tunnel, opened in 1910, is the only passenger rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. It facilitates over 200,000 passenger trips per weekday on more than 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains servicing New York Penn Station. However, its current condition leads to bottlenecks and delays, further exacerbated by damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

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The Hudson River Tunnel Project aims to address these challenges by rehabilitating the old North River Tunnel and constructing a new one beneath the Palisades, the Hudson River, and the waterfront area in Manhattan. It also includes the construction of ventilation shafts, fan plants, and track modifications near Penn Station. The project is a component of the larger Gateway Program which encompasses expanding and rebuilding the rail line between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City through several projects.

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