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Amtrak's Gateway program, which includes rebuilding the Hudson River rail tunnel system, received commitments last week for the funding of preliminary engineering work and the creation of an executive oversight committee.The project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River will receive $70 million in funding for critical preliminary engineering work, with $35 million in federal funding coming from Amtrak and $35 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), according to a PANYNJ press release.The existing Amtrak Hudson tunnels, which Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains use to transport riders between New Jersey and Manhattan, are more than 100 years old and are deteriorating. Their deteriorating condition was further damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also announced that the department will commit the necessary resources and take steps to accelerate federal environmental reviews and permitting for the project. The project has been included in the President's Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard, which means it should receive a "swift and thorough" environmental review process, PANYNJ officials said.NJ Transit has issued a formal notice-to-proceed for consulting services, which will be funded by Amtrak and NJ Transit.In addition, PANYNJ, Amtrak, the U.S. Department of Transportation and NJ Transit have agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding that will result in a framework for coordination among the various parties to advance Gateway. This includes the creation of an executive committee that would coordinate activities and working groups focused on environmental permitting, construction and preliminary engineering, funding and financing, rail operations and governance matters for the project.The local agencies have announced their intent to apply for competitive federal grants in the coming months to advance Gateway, which also includes the Portal Bridge replacement project in New Jersey and the completion of the Hudson Yards right-of-way preservation project in Manhattan.
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