New Construction Phase of Gateway Project Set to Start

The federal government kicked in another $3.8 billion in grant funding as the long-delayed Gateway project finally starts

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Boring machines are about to dive into the soil below the Hudson River once again to get the long-delayed Gateway tunnel project underway.

Leaders from New York, New Jersey and the federal government on Friday announced that the final phase of the concrete casing project to allow trains to run under Hudson Yards will begin work, which they said is “an essential rail right-of-way” to allow construction to start on the 10-mile tunnel that will link the Palisades to Pennsylvania Station, a long-awaited effort to keep the flow of Amtrak commuters to the city moving reliably.

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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer also announced that another $3.8 billion would be contributed to the $6.88 billion in grant funding the project already got from the federal government, with Washington now covering 70 percent of the total cost.

“It’s all systems go, there’s no turning back,” Schumer said during the Friday announcement. “With these new dollars, Gateway’s future is assured. 

“Rail tunnels under the Hudson are an essential artery,” Schumer added “If that artery gets backed up, then the heart of our national transportation economy would cease to pump. America would go into recession overnight, millions of people would lose their jobs.”

The final phase of the concrete casing project is expected to finish in 2026 with the full tunnel expected to open a decade later, the New York Times reported.

New York State is no longer contributing 25 percent of the funding to the project, but more like 15 percent, according to Schumer.

“This corridor is vital to our economic success, that’s been the story for over a century,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “But now we’re called upon to make the investments to ensure for the next 100 years is reliable, stable and can be counted on and make sure it’s never disrupted.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said the project has the potential to produce $19 billion in annual economic activity.

The rail services current century-old passageways shuttle up to 200,000 people on a daily basis, and officials said the replacement of them will guarantee reliable transportation throughout the Northeast Corridor.

The long-delayed project had its approval and funding held up for years under the Trump administration, but the project was prioritized by President Joe Biden, who provided a $292 million grant through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That particular grant funded about half of the concrete “casing” element of the “box tunnel” beneath Hudson Yards.

The project entered the engineering phase in July.

“Today marks a monumental milestone for the Gateway program as we finally get our shovels in the ground on the Hudson tunnel project,” Carlo Scissura, CEO of the New York Building Congress, said in a statement. “This project is a major step towards repairing our strained rail infrastructure and better connecting our communities.”

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.