Despite efforts to halt it by the Trump Administration, it now appears the critically important Gateway Tunnel Project is back on track under President Joe Biden. That’s according to comments made by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday.
The Gateway Project would construct two, rail tracks beneath the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey with Manhattan. The existing tunnel is more than 100 years old and was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the new tunnel, the project would also eliminate the need for the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, which is also old and susceptible to frequent breakdowns. The result would be the elimination of frequent, massive delays on the rail lines known as the Northeast Corridor which carry passengers on Amtrak and NJ Transit along one of the most heavily travelled tracks in the country.
It is a vital corridor for commuters, and something which must be upgraded according to all transportation experts.
The majir sticking point of the dispute was New Jersey and New York’s plan to pay for half of the cost of the project. The federal government would match the other half partly through loans. According to Governor Murphy, “The Biden Administration’s announcement of the impending May completion date for the Hudson Tunnel project’s final environmental impact statement and record of decision is a major step towards relief for New Jersey commuters. After years of stalled efforts under the Trump Administration, President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Acting FTA Administrator Fernandez, and Acting FRA Administrator Bose are making it clear that the Gateway Program and all of its components are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett stated, “NJ TRANSIT is a proud partner in the resumption and advancement of this critical project. The Hudson Tunnel Project will directly benefit our customers with more reliable and resilient rail service in one of most congested areas of the nation. We appreciate the support of President Biden and USDOT Secretary Buttigieg, as well as Governor Murphy, NJDOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti and New Jersey’s Congressional delegation in accelerating this vital project. We look forward to working with the FRA to finalize the FEIS and ROD as quickly as possible.”
“Our administration has fought for new and safe tunnels since 2018 and we look forward to working with our regional and federal partners to build commuting and rail infrastructure that our commuters can depend on,” Governor Murphy concluded.
The estimated completion date for the environmental review and permitting is Oct. 1, 2021.