Fed cash starts NY work on Penn Station rail tunnels


A new dose of federal money has allowed work to start on the New York side of a new rail tunnel under the Husdon River, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Hochul said Friday.
“Today I am announcing another massive $3.8 billion in federal funds — the light at the end of this tunnel project,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a joint press conference with Hochul and federal Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“With these new dollars, Gateway’s future is assured,” Schumer said, speaking in front of several pieces of large earth-moving equipment at a Hudson Yards construction site.
The $16 billion Hudson River tunnel, a key component of the Gateway project, is meant to augment the existing trans-Hudson train route, the North River tunnel, which opened in 1910.
Schumer previously announced $6.9 billion in federal aid for the project in July.
The latest tranche of cash means the feds are footing $11 billion in tunnel construction costs, roughly 65% of the total. The remaining $5 billion will be split by New York and New Jersey.
The new $3.8 billion comes in the form of a federal-state partnership grant, and is earmarked for signals, tracks, and other so-called “fit-out” jobs in the new tunnel.
Friday also marked the official beginning of work on the tunnel’s first component, concrete casings at Hudson Yards, meant to facilitate the eventual linkage of the tunnel to Penn Station.
Each day, 425 trains pass through the tubes of the existing North River tunnel, according to a Federal Transit Administration report on the project. That wear and tear — along with damage from salt water incursions during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — has led the tunnels to need a serious overhaul.
“This corridor is vital to our economic success,” Hochul said. “Four presidents [and] five governors have all said they’d get this done.”
“No more talk. This is the day the shovels go in the ground,” she said.
The full Gateway project aims to increase the number of trains running between New York and Newark Penn Stations along the Northeast Corridor line.
In addition to adding two tracks under the Hudson with the Hudson River tunnel, the project includes the restoration of the existing North River tunnels, the replacement of several rail bridges across the New Jersey Meadowlands, and a link under Jersey City and Hoboken to the Hudson River tubes.
The current plan also involves a likely southward expansion of Penn Station to include additional NJ Transit platforms.
A handful of protestors stood outside the gate to the construction site Friday holding signs decrying the proposed NJ Transit expansion, which would require the demolition of the buildings one block south of Penn Station.


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