Long-Delayed Gateway Tunnel Clears Federal Approval


The long-delayed Gateway project finally has a light at the end of its tunnel.

Federal agencies on Friday approved an environmental review for the $11 billion project that includes a new train tunnel underneath the Hudson River. The approval removes a key holdup by the Trump administration and paves the way for the project to advance.

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“This is a big step for the Northeast, and for the entire country, as these tunnels connect so many people, jobs, and businesses,” Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. secretary of transportation, said in a statement.

The Gateway tunnel calls for a new train tunnel, as well as upgrading and fixing a Hurricane Sandy-damaged one that connects New Jersey and Penn Station. It’s part of the larger Gateway project that would also replace the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River.

The environmental review approval, which allows the project to start pre-construction work that includes final design development and property acquisitions, was previously stalled by President Donald Trump, who said it should be paid for by the states, not the federal government.

The project got back on track once President Joseph Biden took office. He included funding for it in his $2 trillion, eight-year infrastructure plan to improve the country’s neglected roadways, bridges and rail lines.

The New York Building Congress applauds the Biden administration and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg for taking this positive step forward on the Gateway Program,” Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, said in a statement. “Getting our region back to normal shouldn’t mean the delayed, over-capacity commutes that far too many were accustomed to long before the pandemic.”