Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Thursday that a $292 million federal grant will allow construction on the Manhattan side of the new Hudson River rail tunnels connecting Penn Station to New Jersey to begin in the coming months.
The grant will cover roughly half of the $600 million cost of constructing the concrete casing of a box tunnel beneath Hudson Yards that will carry trains in and out of Penn Station as part of the Gateway Program.
Schumer said the money “will energise the vital Gateway Tunnel project. With this massive sum of money, construction on a critical component of the project can begin in 2023.”
The box tunnel will be the first significant construction on the Hudson River tunnel portion of the long-delayed Gateway project, which includes the construction of two new rail tunnels beneath the river as well as the rehabilitation of the existing rail tunnels, which opened in 1910 during President William Howard Taft’s administration.
The concrete tunnel casing from Penn Station to Tenth Avenue is finished. According to Stephen Sigmund, a Gateway Program spokesman, the federal grant announced by Schumer will fund the extension of the concrete tunnel casing from Tenth Avenue to west of Eleventh Avenue.
The Hudson Tunnel portion of the project, which is expected to cost around $16.1 billion, will connect Penn Station to the Secaucus station in New Jersey, which is 412 miles away.
The Hudson tunnels are part of the larger Gateway project, which is expected to cost $30 billion in total and will include new tracks and bridges west of Secaucus. When construction is completed in the 2030s, trains between Newark and New York will have access to four tracks.
Years of delays have occurred, including during the administration of former President Donald Trump, whose Transportation Department designated Gateway as a “medium-low” priority.
“Despite needless political delay caused by the former president, the Gateway project — on which our economy depends — is now moving forward and receiving federal dollars that fuel major construction,” Schumer said.
The box tunnel received the largest award to date from a federal Department of Transportation grant programme included in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Gateway Program is one of several initiatives aimed at modernising Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which runs from New York to Boston and Washington.