By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will award $3.8 billion to help build a long-delayed new railway tunnel between New York City and New Jersey, state officials said Friday.
In total, the federal government will fund more than $11 billion of the $17.2 billion Hudson Tunnel Project costs that will repair an existing tunnel and build a new one for passenger railroad Amtrak and state commuter lines between New Jersey and Manhattan, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Any failure of the lines in the current tunnel, which was heavily damaged during 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, would hobble commuting in the largest U.S. metropolitan area that produces 10% of the country’s economic output.
The White House in July had advanced $6.88 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration for the project.
Schumer, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and New York Governor Kathy Hochul were among the officials who celebrated the start of construction in New York on the Hudson Tunnel Project.
Buttigieg said Friday the Hudson Tunnel project will reduce traveler delays, support 72,000 jobs and generate $19 billion in economic activity. “This is the largest project of its kind in modern American history,” Buttigieg said.
The project was debated in Washington for over a decade since the New York City-area rail tunnel was damaged when Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of the city. The 112-year-old rail tunnel carries 200,000 passenger trips per day on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor.
In 2010, then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pulled state funding for the tunnel. The administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats sparred over whether the federal government should help fund the tunnel replacement.
New Jersey and New York will contribute 30% of the costs and Amtrak is funding $1 billion, Schumer said.
The states through the Gateway Program aim to overhaul much of the aging infrastructure in the Northeast Corridor rail line between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski)