GDC Notes Progress on Hudson Tunnel Project

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-In-Chief, Railway Age
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The Gateway Development Commission (GDC) on May 5 reported “significant progress and early work beginning in 2023” on the Hudson Tunnel Project, the largest component of the Gateway Program.

The GDC Board of Commissioners passed a resolution that finalizes agreements among funding partners on the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing – Section 3, described as “the vital portion of the Hudson Tunnel Project linking the new Hudson Tunnel directly to Penn Station New York, for which President Biden announced a $292 million MEGA grant in January.” The resolution allows work on this element to move into construction, which is expected to begin during 2023.

GDC also highlighted other early work projects for the new Hudson Tunnel beginning construction or procurement this year. Those include the Tonnelle Avenue Overhead Bridge and Utility Relocation Project in New Jersey, where construction is expected during 2023, and as the Hudson River Ground Stabilization project and construction of the Palisades Tunnel, where the procurement processes are anticipated to launch in the coming weeks.

In addition to the early work, the GDC Board of Commissioners was updated on the overall progress already made on the Hudson Tunnel Project in the early months of 2023:

  • Enhancing the Contract Packaging for the “Core and Shell” portion of the new tunnel, to provide a more robust and competitive pool of potential bidders.
  • Ongoing engagement with the private sector, via a Market Sounding forum, and series of one on one follow up meetings that led to the contract packaging updates, and an event detailing and receiving feedback on those changes.
  • Applying for substantial additional Federal grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Program and Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program to help fund portions of the project.
  • Applying for a substantial Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program grant available under the BIL (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), which would reduce overall costs of the project.
  • Continuing to work hand-in-hand with the Federal Transit Administration to advance the project through the GIG (Capital Investment Grants) Program process, to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement for the bulk of the project’s Federal funding during 2024.

GDC Board of Commissioners also passed several other resolutions “to continue to build the capacity of the GDC and to advance the Hudson Tunnel Project.” These include:

  • Approving $2.5 million in available stipends for up to four firms to bid on the Hudson Tunnel Ground Stabilization project, a common industry practice that encourages a more competitive and complete bidding pool and ensures the intellectual property of the bids belongs to GDC.
  • Approving a schedule of GDC Board meetings for the remainder of 2023.
  • Establishing Committees of the Board including Audit, Governance and Operations, and Project Delivery. Amending the Hudson Tunnel Project Development Agreement to incorporate a process for consideration of alternative technical concepts, amend the approval process for certain categories of deviations from design standards and specifications, and expand the membership of procurement evaluation panels.

“This is the year the Hudson Tunnel Project becomes real,” said Alicia Glen, New York Commissioner and GDC Co-Chair. “With early construction starting in both New York and New Jersey, we are telling the millions of riders who rely on this route that help is on the way.”

“GDC is making real progress this year pushing vital components of the project forward,” said Balpreet Grewal-Virk, New Jersey Commissioner and GDC Co-Chair. “I am particularly proud of our focus on working with the private sector to make sure this project is delivered efficiently and expeditiously.”

“Moving forward with early work in partnership with the Federal government is vital to this project’s success,” said Tony Coscia, Amtrak Commissioner and GDC Vice Chair. “Our Federal support will reduce costs for the local partners and help ensure that the Hudson River Tunnel is a strong, resilient part of the Northeast Corridor for a century to come.”

“We promised that this would be the year that the Hudson Tunnel Project moves from planning to reality, and that is exactly what today’s Board action achieves,” noted GDC CEO Kris Kolluri. “With the agreements and funding now in place, we’ll see construction start this year on the critical Concrete Casing portion of the project that links the new tunnel to Penn Station. Along with our other early works, the Hudson Tunnel Project is now taking shape more and more each day.”

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