$11 billion New York rail tunnel gets key federal approval

May 28, 2021, 9:09 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm
FILE - In this March 20, 2021 file photo, Amtrak workers perform tunnel repairs to a partially floo...

FILE - In this March 20, 2021 file photo, Amtrak workers perform tunnel repairs to a partially flooded train track bed, in Weehawken, N.J. A planned $11 billion rail tunnel seen as a key to train travel up and down the northeastern U.S. received a boost Friday, May 28 with a crucial, and long sought, federal environmental approval. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A planned $11 billion rail tunnel seen as a key to train travel up and down the northeastern U.S. received a boost Friday with a crucial, and long sought, federal environmental approval.

The record of decision announced by the Department of Transportation means the project to build a new Hudson River tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey can push ahead with engineering and design work. The DOT’s approval also is expected to smooth the way toward the awarding of federal grants the project needs to begin construction.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there’s money in President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that could fund the project: it would direct $85 billion to update and replace subway cars and repair aging tracks and stations. Some $25 billion of those funds would also go to expanding bus routes and rail lines.

“So we should have all the money we need,” Schumer said in an interview.

He said New York and New Jersey won’t have to provide their respective 25% shares of the tunnel’s cost for years.

“They’re working on finding an allocation,” Schumer said, referencing New York officials.

The tunnel, part of the broader Gateway project to expand rail capacity in the New York region, dates back roughly 10 years. It completed environmental studies three years ago. Stakeholders, including Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have alleged the Trump administration delayed the approval for political reasons, a charge Trump’s administration denied.

“For four years, Donald Trump in a petty, vindictive and nasty way to New York imposed lots of procedural barriers on Gateway even though we had allocated some money already,” Schumer said.

“This is a big step for the Northeast, and for the entire country, as these tunnels connect so many people, jobs and businesses,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Now we need to make sure to provide the funding America needs to deliver world-leading infrastructure in this region and in every part of the country.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called it “a significant milestone.”

The existing tunnel is more than 110 years old and prone to problems and delays due to crumbling walls and aging signals and wiring. Saltwater intrusion from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 accelerated the tunnel’s deterioration and forced Amtrak, which owns the tunnel, to embark on costly repairs to keep it functioning reliably.

Hundreds of trains and hundreds of thousands of passengers pass through the tunnel per day during normal times, and delays can ripple up and down the East Coast between Boston and Washington. Once primary construction begins, the tunnel could take as long as six or seven years to complete.

Under the Gateway project, the new tunnel would be built parallel to the existing tunnel. Once completed, the existing tunnel would be taken out of service for a complete overhaul, estimated to take as long as two years. A plan to add tracks in New York’s Penn Station to accommodate more trains when both tunnels are in service is in the early stages.

__

AP writer Marina Villeneuve contributed reporting from Albany, N.Y.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - In this March 20, 2021 file photo, Amtrak workers perform tunnel repairs to a partially flooded train track bed, in Weehawken, N.J. A planned $11 billion rail tunnel seen as a key to train travel up and down the northeastern U.S. received a boost Friday, May 28 with a crucial, and long sought, federal environmental approval. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
            
              FILE - In this March 20, 2021 file photo, Amtrak workers perform tunnel repairs to a partially flooded train track bed, in Weehawken, N.J. A planned $11 billion rail tunnel seen as a key to train travel up and down the northeastern U.S. received a boost Friday, May 28 with a crucial, and long sought, federal environmental approval. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

AP

Police officers escort Andrew Tate, right, handcuffed to his brother Tristan Tate, to the Court of ...
Associated Press

Andrew Tate awaits ruling on appeal of detention in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrew Tate, the divisive influencer and former professional kickboxer who is detained in Romania on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking, appeared at a court in Bucharest on Wednesday to appeal against a second 30-day extension of his detention. Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has nearly 5 million followers […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Bulgaria and Serbia diversify energy supplies

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — The presidents of Bulgaria and Serbia on Wednesday launched the construction of the Bulgarian part of a gas link that is designed to diversify the energy supplies of a region that until recently was almost fully dependent on natural gas deliveries from Russia. The 85.5 million-euro ($93.2 million) project is one […]
6 hours ago
In this Feb. 11, 2019, photo, snow piles up on a street as a car maneuvers down the street in Seatt...
Associated Press

Edmunds: Why you need winter tires

It’s obvious that when temperatures drop and winter weather arrives you’ll need to put away your shorts and T-shirt and go for pants and a thick coat. But the decision to swap out your vehicle’s all-season tires for winter tires isn’t so clear-cut. Some drivers put too much faith in a single tire type to […]
6 hours ago
FILE - U.S. Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at Department of Health and Human Se...
Associated Press

Top US official urges WHO to address sexual misconduct

LONDON (AP) — A top U.S. health official urged the World Health Organization to address allegations reported by The Associated Press that one of its doctors repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct. “There are many of us who stand with survivors and stand with those who identify as victims and are truly committed, but also frustrated […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Free hotel breakfasts are getting bigger and better

Kimberly Button normally skips breakfast. But on vacation, the hotel breakfast buffet is a highlight. She’s drawn to the oatmeal bar, where she transforms bland grains with an array of toppings — chocolate chips, coconut flakes and berries. Sometimes she grabs fruit to take with her and nosh on throughout the day. At Disney World, […]
6 hours ago
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisc...
Associated Press

EU official pushes Musk for Twitter’s progress on new rules

LONDON (AP) — A top European Union official told Elon Musk that Twitter needs to make progress in preparing for a new law aimed at curbing hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content, adding pressure on the company to ensure it complies. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and Musk held a video call on Tuesday to […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
$11 billion New York rail tunnel gets key federal approval