NY, NJ sign $6.9 billion deal with federal government for Hudson River rail tunnel as part of Gateway project

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul and N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that an agreement for an expected $6.9 billion grant from the federal government toward the construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River has been signed.

The money, first announced a year ago by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., constitutes the single largest federal investment in transportation infrastructure in the nation’s history.

“The light at the end of the Gateway tunnel is signed, sealed and delivered,” Schumer said at a press conference near the expected landing of the tunnel on the south side of W. 30th St.

The money comes on top of $3.8 billion in federal funding through the Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail program, and $2 billion in federal dollars fronted by Amtrak, which controls the rails that run through the tunnel.

All told, the money accounts for more than 70% of the tunnel’s projected $16 billion price tag.

The Hudson River Tunnel is the centerpiece of the sweeping Gateway project meant to eventually double rail capacity across the New Jersey Meadowlands and into New York Penn Station, modernizing and expanding an aging section of the Northeast Corridor rail line.

The $40 billion Gateway effort also includes the replacement of the Portal Bridge in Kearny, N.J., several smaller bridges in the Meadowlands, and additional track capacity near Secaucus Junction.

When completed, the Hudson River Tunnel will allow crews to close and refurbish the existing North River Tunnel.

Those tubes, built in 1910, were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and require an extensive overhaul.

Upon the completion of that work — expected in 2038 — rail capacity into Penn Station will be doubled, according to the project’s planners.

Currently, about 425 trains a day traverse the North River Tunnel.