FTA approves Hudson River Tunnel project to enter Engineering Phase of CIG program

July 7, 2023
The approval letter revised the maximum grant the project can secure through the CIG program to $6.88 billion, which is down slightly from the requested federal share of $7.41 billion.

The Hudson Tunnel Project has been approved to enter the Engineering Phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program . This represents a significant advancement for the project, which entered New Starts Project Development through the CIG Program in July 2016.

The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in U.S. history and a key component of the Gateway Program, an effort to revitalize the Northeast Corridor (NEC) by improving the rail infrastructure along a 10-mile segment. The scope of the Hudson Tunnel Project includes two components:

  • The construction of a two-track Hudson River rail tunnel between Bergen Palisades in New Jersey and New York Penn Station in Manhattan
  • Rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel, which sustained significant damage during Superstorm Sandy. The existing North River Tunnel was constructed in 1910 and is the sole passenger rail connection between Manhattan and New Jersey and the NEC.

"Every day, 200,000 people pass through the North River Tunnel and a closure affects not just the entire Northeast Corridor, but the entire country," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Today, we are proud to announce the Hudson River Tunnel project is entering the Engineering phase, moving us a huge step closer to finally revitalizing and expanding this century-old piece of American infrastructure."

Major construction could begin in 2024

The Hudson Tunnel Project’s sponsor, Gateway Development Commission (GDC), will be able to incur costs for engineering activities, demolition and utility relocation, property acquisition and other non-construction costs, including procurement of specialized equipment and materials with the FTA’s approval to enter the Engineering Phase of the CIG program.

“Entering into Engineering is the biggest step yet in making the entire Hudson Tunnel Project a reality. Between this action and the clear commitment from our federal partners for additional funding, we will have the resources needed to meet our commitment to the region and nation to build a new rail link between New York, New Jersey and the entire Northeast Corridor,” said Alicia Glen, New York commissioner and GDC co-chair.

One noted change FTA included in the Hudson Tunnel updated project document was a revision to the maximum amount of a potential Full Funding Agreement. The original request was for $7.408 billion, with the FTA moving the amount down to $6.88 billion.

The $17.18 billion Hudson Tunnel Project is being funded with local commitments to repay a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan, funding from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. GDC said it expected the remainder of the federal funding to become available to the project through the approximately $4 billion in Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program , Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) and Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants that have already been applied for.

GDC says with the project’s financial footing stabilized, early construction work could begin this year and major construction could begin in 2024. Early work is expected to begin later this year on the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation Project in New Jersey, which was awarded a RAISE grant recently, and the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 in New York , which received a National Infrastructure Project Assistance Grant in February 2023.

“The Hudson Tunnel Project will allow for increased reliability, redundancy and, most important, a better passenger experience on the busiest stretch of the Northeast Corridor. Entry into Engineering is a major milestone accomplishment for the partnership between New York, New Jersey, Amtrak and the federal government. Now, it’s time to go build,” said Amtrak Commissioner and GDC Vice-Chair Anthony Coscia.

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.