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Rail News: Amtrak

Gateway Program Development updates Hudson Tunnel cost

The Hudson River tunnel project is part of Amtrak's Gateway infrastructure program for the Northeast Corridor.
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The Gateway Program Development Corp. (GDC) last week released an updated financial plan for the Hudson River Tunnel Project that shows the project's overall cost has increased $275 million.

The plan also pushes back by one year the major construction start date, which now is projected to be early 2022. Cost increases — which bring the project's total price tag to $11.6 billion — are attributed to the start delay. Major work can't begin until the federal government issues a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and record of decision (ROD) for the new tunnel and rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel, GDC officials said in a press release.

The GDC submitted the updated plan in response to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) annual call for projects for the Capital Investment Grant Program (CIG).

A key part of Amtrak's Gateway Program, the project includes construction of a new two-track rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River, comprehensive rehabilitation of the existing 109-year-old North River Tunnel and the completion of the third and final section of the Hudson Yards concrete casing.

The 2020 financial plan includes a continued local share construction cost commitment of $5.55 billion from the states of New York and New Jersey, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. That commitment exceeds the threshold for an improved rating in the CIG process, GDC officials said.

The updated plan also includes Amtrak's continued commitment of nearly $1.3 billion.

GDC officials are requesting $5.5 billion from the FTA's CIG Program, which is more than $1 billion less than the request in the project's 2018 financial plan. The 2020 request represents 44.3 percent of the project's total cost.

"All of our partners ... remain fully committed to getting a new Hudson Tunnel build and rehabilitating the existing nearly 110-year-old tubes,"said GDC Chair Steven Cohen. "Together, their funding commitments more than qualify the project for an improved financial plan rating from FTA. Now we need a federal administration that works with us."

The 2019 financial plan was predicated on the U.S. Department of Transportation issuing a FEIS and ROD in calendar year 2019. The 2020 plan is predicated on the department issuing a FEIS and ROD this year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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