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FRA issues draft environmental report for Hudson Tunnel project

The project involves building two new rail tubes in a single tunnel beneath the Hudson River.
Photo – Amtrak

Building a new Hudson River rail tunnel between New York City and New Jersey could cost up to $12.9 billion, according to a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) released yesterday by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). That amount includes $1.8 billion to rehabilitate the existing North River Tunnel.

The figure marks a jump from January, when Amtrak estimated the project would cost $7.7 billion. Nonetheless, the publication of the DEIS is a milestone in the clearance process before design or construction can begin, FRA officials said in a press release.

The preferred alternative calls for building two new rail tubes in a single tunnel beneath the Hudson River, as well as refurbishing existing structures. The new tubes will be designed to maintain the current level of train service while the North River Tunnel tubes are taken out of service one at time for rehabilitation. The cost of that alternative ranges between $11.7 billion and $12.9 billion, according to the FRA.

Construction of the new tunnel could begin in 2019. The FRA has opened a public comment period on the DEIS, with meetings scheduled on Aug. 1, 3 and 10. The FRA expects to issue a final EIS in March 2018.

As far as financing the project, it's the responsibility of project sponsors to "identify their funding sources and plan," FRA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/7/2017