Federal Government Kicks in Another $6.8B in Funding for Gateway Project

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The long-delayed Gateway tunnel project secured another round of federal funding as Democrats brace for a potential Donald Trump victory in the November election and transit advocates continue to stew over Gov. Kathy Hochul killing congestion pricing. 

Hochul, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker announced the $6.8 billion federal funding agreement Monday morning hoping to advance the $16 billion project to build a rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River. The project aims to keep one of the biggest economic veins in the country pumping, and Monday’s announcement will secure its future regardless of who is in the White House, officials said.

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With the money in hand, the Gateway Development Commission will begin boring the tunnel this month and hopes to reach its projected completion date of 2035. When complete, the Gateway tunnel will give rail commuters expanded service and redundancy in case something happens to the existing tunnels, which are over 100 years old.

“This full funding grant agreement will provide the critical resources needed to deliver an essential piece of infrastructure that will bring millions of visitors to New York every year,” Hochul said in a statement.

Schumer announced progress on the project in November 2023 with a $3.8 billion federal grant that allowed work to begin on the final phase of the concrete casing project to allow trains to run beneath Hudson Yards at either the beginning or end of the 10-mile tunnel journey from the Palisades to Pennsylvania Station.

“For a long time now, the Gateway project has been my passion,” Schumer said in a statement. “It’s a labor of love. And after many false starts and obstacles placed in our way, Gateway is full speed ahead with billions from [the Federal Transit Administration] ready to go and be used for critical work and construction.”

But the announcement did little to persuade some groups still feeling alienated when Hochul put a pause on congestion pricing in Manhattan, just 25 days before the program was supposed to go live. The toll plan was expected to provide $15 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the agency now says it will have to put transportation improvements on pause with the loss of funding

“As the governor cheers one project, her flip-flop lost New York the biggest ever federal capital investment grant, which would have built the Second Avenue subway to East Harlem,” Danny Pearlstein, policy director for transportation advocacy group the Riders Alliance, said in a statement. “While wooing suburbanites, who hate her, the governor has abandoned millions of city bus and subway riders, who elected her and are stuck waiting for reliable and accessible public transit.”

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