NEW YORK — Amtrak has increased its funding commitment for the stalled Gateway tunnel project, which has seen the estimate of its overall cost move downward. The agency directing the project is hoping those two factors might increase the prospects of receiving federal funding.
NorthJersey.com reports that Amtrak has increased its commitment by $600 million, while the overall cost of the project is now $11.3 billion, a decrease of $1.4 billion from prior estimates. The figures came in a Friday conference call involving representatives of the Gateway Program Development Corp., Amtrak, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
As a result, the Gateway agency has submitted an updated application for a Federal Transit Administration grant, seeking $5.4 billion, less than half of the project and $1.4 billion less than its previous request in 2018.
Frank Sacr, interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corp, said he hoped the plan “will be attractive to the local partners and we believe also to the federal partners, and to the market.” He said construction costs were reduced by reorganizing the project into a smaller number of large packages for construction.
The project would build a new tunnel for Northeast Corridor traffic under the Hudson River and rehabilitate the existing tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey. It has been stalled since the Trump administration blocked a deal negotiated during the Obama administration, with the Department of Transportation saying no such agreement existed and labeling the matter “a local project.” [See “Talk aside, action on Gateway tunnel still stalled,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 4, 2018.]
The states of New York and New Jersey recently created a joint agency, the Gateway Project Development Commission, designed to oversee and fund the project. [See “Gateway commission bills pass in New York, New Jersey,” Trains News Wire, June 24, 2019.] That move made the commission eligible for state, federal, and local grants to fund the project.