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$11.3B Gateway Tunnel Plan New York and New Jersey each to pay 50%

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) today endorsed the submission of a new $11.3 billion Gateway Tunnel plan that for the first time does not rely on tolls on NJ Transit trains to pay for construction costs.

“We made it clear during negotiations over the new Gateway Commission bill that it was the bipartisan intent of the New Jersey Legislature that the new tunnels not be financed out of NJ Transit’s operating budget or on the backs of NJ Transit riders,” Senator Weinberg said. “We are pleased that that the Governors and the current Gateway Commission heard us loud and clear, and that this year’s application for federal funding – unlike past years – does not call for tolls on NJ Transit trains to pay for construction.”

Senator Weinberg teamed up with New York Assembly Authorities Chair Amy Paulin in June to pass Gateway legislation requiring New York and New Jersey each to pay 50% of the local share for the construction of the new Gateway rail tunnels, reconstruction of the existing North River tunnels and construction of a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River.

New York and New Jersey submitted a new plan for a rail tunnel project under the Hudson River that cuts nearly $1.5 billion off the previous cost estimate, as officials seek to break a funding impasse with the federal government that has stalled progress in recent years.

The plan announced Friday envisions design and construction savings that would reduce the new tunnel’s estimated cost from just over $11 billion to $9.5 billion. Repairing the existing century-old tunnel that was damaged in 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, and is a source of frequent delays due to crumbling infrastructure, would cost about $1.8 billion, or about $200 million more than previous estimates.

The net cost decrease means the states will seek $5.4 billion from a federal grant program instead of $6.8 billion, project officials said in an email Friday.

It isn’t clear how that will affect the project’s prospects. The U.S. Department of Transportation has given the tunnel and an associated rail bridge project in New Jersey low ratings that have disqualified them from the Capital Investment Grant program.

Department officials have said the low ratings are justified because of the total cost of the request — which dwarfs any other project around the country — and because the states plan to fund their share of the project, between $5 billion and $6 billion, with federal loans. Project officials have argued that the practice is in line with what other states have done.

More than 400 trains and roughly 200,000 passengers pass through the tunnel and over the Portal Bridge in New Jersey daily on trains operated by Amtrak or New Jersey Transit. An analysis commissioned by the two operators this spring found that passengers traveling between New Jersey and New York have experienced rail delays of two hours or more 85 times between 2014 and the end of 2018.

One thought on “$11.3B Gateway Tunnel Plan New York and New Jersey each to pay 50%

  1. That old fool still spending other peoples money (our money). Hey Ma Weinberg, who was first to say it was too expensive? Let me give you a hint. The former Governor. Stolen valor, you’re no hero.

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