TRANSIT: Report indicates Hudson rail tunnel could cost nearly $13 billion

July 7, 2017

The new cost is a significant increase from the earlier $7.7 billion initially estimated to improve the major link from New York to New Jersey

Building a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and fixing the existing one could cost nearly $13 billion—a steep increase over an earlier estimate of $7.7 billion, according to a report released on Thursday.

Transit officials are proceeding with planning for the project, which would improve a critical link between New York and New Jersey.

The new report, by the Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit, evaluated the plan’s environmental and economic impacts. The study was a major step before detailed design work and construction could begin.

The Trump administration has not committed to providing federal financing for the tunnel. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently withdrew from the Gateway corporation board, which oversees the Hudson Tunnel project, saying that it did not want to appear to favor the tunnel over projects elsewhere in the country.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said that she and President Trump understand the tunnel’s importance, but the administration has proposed cutting a grant program that could have helped pay for the project. The Obama administration strongly supported building a new tunnel and had agreed to join with Amtrak to cover half of the project’s cost. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey have agreed to finance the other half.

The construction of a new tunnel could begin by fall 2019, and the tunnel could open in spring 2026, according to the report, which estimated the cost of the new tunnel at $11.1 billion. Rehabilitating the existing tunnel could cost $1.8 billion, the report said.

The century-old tunnel that Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains now use to cross the Hudson was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and has become increasingly unreliable. Local officials worry that the tunnel will continue to deteriorate, requiring major repairs that would be a nightmare for commuters in the region.


Source: The New York Times