FRA, FTA give Hudson Tunnel Project a critical nudge

Written by RT&S Staff
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With the FRA and FTA issuing the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, is federal funding next for the Hudson Tunnel Project?

The money might not be there, but the paperwork is starting to roll in.

On May 28 the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Administration jointly issued the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Hudson Tunnel Project. The steps are needed for either the FRA or FTA to earmark future federal funding for preconstruction activities like engineering, final design development, right-of-way acquisition and construction.

Amtrak is asking for $16 billion in federal funding for the Gateway Project, including $6.7 billion over five years for the major component—the Hudson Tunnel Project. The project involves the construction of a new tube and the rehabilitation of an existing tunnel under the Hudson River that will connect New York to New Jersey.

The current tunnel system is 111 years old and was damaged in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy. About 450 trains use the tunnel every weekday, and before COVID-19 hit there were about 200,000 daily passenger trips.

The Record of Decision is actually more than two years late. Environmental work was completed under an expedited schedule and submitted in February 2018. The Trump administration then proceeded to block further advancement on the tunnel project and a Record of Decision was left on the table.

Many believe President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan will bolster the chances of seeing the Gateway Project through, but on May 27 the Senate GOP released its infrastructure plan that fell well short of Biden’s funding levels.

Read more articles on rail tunnels and bridges.

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