The governors of New York and New Jersey on Thursday committed to fund 100 percent of their share of the Hudson River Gateway Tunnel rail project.
New York will fund $1.75 billion while New Jersey Transit will add $1.9 billion to the $1.9 billion already committed by the board of commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for a total of $5.55 billion.
“The Gateway Tunnel is critical to the long term vitality of the entire Northeast region and one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie added that “this project will result in the crucial Northeast Corridor having four tracks between New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River, allowing for increased ridership in the future.”
Amtrak’s two-track North River Tunnel opened in 1910 and serves 24 trains per hour. It suffered severe damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The project will also consist of new bridges, a Penn Station annex and turning the James Farley Post Office into an Amtrak concourse.
While New York will contribute through its general fund, NJ Transit will a new commuter charge. Starting in 2020, riders will pay 90 cents each trip, which will increase to $1.70 in 2028 and to $2.20 in 2038, the New York Post reported.
“Under Gov. Christie, New Jersey has consistently been the last one to the table, both on Gateway and its predecessor, Access to the Region’s Core,” said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, citing the commuter rail project Christie killed in 2010. “Gov. Christie can’t undo the damage of cancelling ARC now, but we should find a fairer way to fund Gateway construction that doesn’t ask daily commuters to pay for every penny of New Jersey’s contribution to the Gateway project.”
Both Cuomo and Sifuentes called on the federal government to make good on its 2015 Obama-era agreement to fund 50 percent of the project, which Sifuentes called “the most important infrastructure project in the Northeastern United States,” adding that “if we don’t rebuild the Hudson tunnels, we run the risk that transportation — and the economy — in the Northeast will grind to a halt.”
It is unknown what President Trump’s administration will provide to the Gateway Project, but his $1 trillion infrastructure plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks, Politico reported Thursday.