Estimated costs of Hudson Tunnel project increase $275 million in updated financial plan

Aug. 31, 2020
Stakeholders cite delays in the issuance of the project’s FEIS and ROD for the increase in costs, as well as a one-year push back in the heavy construction start date.

An updated financial plan for the construction of the Hudson Tunnel Project, a key project in the Gateway Program, was released by the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) Aug. 28.  

The project’s overall costs of have increased to $11.6 billion and the projected start of major construction has been moved back one year to early 2022. GDC says the changes were needed while the project awaits publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD).

The project sponsors are seeking nearly $5.5 billion through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program, which represents 44.3 percent of the total project cost.

The Hudson Tunnel, like its sister Gateway Program project Portal North Bridge, represents a significant chokepoint in the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The Amtrak-owed North River Tunnel sustained damage in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy, which has resulted in reliability challenges. During pre-COVID times, approximately 450 New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains use the tunnel.

The proposed project would build a new two-track tunnel under the Hudson River, rehabilitate the existing 109-year-old North River Tunnel and complete the final section of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing.

The 2020 financial plan includes a continued local share construction cost commitment of $5.55 billion from the states of New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which has committed $2.75 billion to the project. Amtrak has committed $1.3 billion to the project.

“All of our partners, the two states, the Port Authority and Amtrak, remain fully committed to getting a new Hudson Tunnel built and rehabilitating the existing nearly 110-year-old tubes. Together, their funding commitments more than qualify the project for an improved financial plan rating from FTA,” said New York Trustee and Chair of the Gateway Program Development Corporation Steven M. Cohen. “Now, we need a federal administration that works with us. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has only taken on even more urgency as the nation looks to bring back jobs and stimulate the economy, essential workers need reliable transportation in the short term, and the region and nation need 21st century rail transportation to build better infrastructure for the long term.”

In August 2019, GDC decreased the overall costs of the project by $1.4 billion. Overall construction costs of have increased $275 million from the following:

  • An increase to $9.8 billion from $9.5 billion for the estimated construction cost of the new Hudson River Tunnel and final Hudson Yards Concrete Casing section; and
  • An increase to $1.8 billion from $1.77 billion for the estimated rehabilitation cost of the existing North River Tunnel.

The project’s 2020 financial plan depends on the FEIS and ROD being issued within the 2020 calendar year.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.