Fed Gov't Report Estimates Cost of Hudson Tunnel to Skyrocket to $13B
Arecent report by the federal government increased the estimated cost by more than 50 percent for the construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel and reviving the old one, making the new expected price tag a whopping $13 billion.
People in favor of the project believe it will still happen, because it is so desperately needed. According to Crain’s News, “The existing two-track tunnel, which shuttles Amtrak riders and millions of New Jersey Transit commuters to and from Manhattan each year, is aging and in desperate need of major repair, which involves first building a new sibling conduit. But the new draft environmental impact statement by the U.S Department of Transportation found the endeavor, part of a larger project known as Gateway, would run into the range of $11.7 to $12.98 billion. A similar tunnel construction and repair effort, part of the Access to the Region's Core project killed by Gov. Chris Christie, was priced at $8.7 billion. Christie had said he did not want New Jersey to be on the hook for cost overruns.”
On Thursday morning, June 6, at New York Penn Station at a press conference unveiling the report, Gateway Program Development Corp. Interim Director John Porcari said that building the new shaft will cost between $11.2 billion and $12.9 billion, while renovating the old tunnel will be another $1.7 billion. Work to keep up current operation before the under-river tracks are repaired are where additional costs would come from. Porcari said this recent estimate differs from earlier ones due to increased security, excavation and refurbishment costs, which is a result of now having more accurate and detailed plans for both parts of the project.
He said, "Those numbers are better known than they were before. The cost numbers will continue to be refined."
On Friday, June 7, the analaysis was completed according to Porcari. That same day, the Department of Transportation officially withdrew its trustee from the development corporation. Crain’s reports, “The entity had been formed in 2015 at the behest of now-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, with a four-person leadership that also included Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia and two representatives from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, one picked by the governor of each state. Some interpreted the withdrawal of the DOT trustee as an ill omen for the project, an undertaking which Schumer and the Obama administration steered through initial resistance from Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Others saw it as a play by President Donald Trump to pressure the Senate Democratic leader and to put Trump's own stamp on the project, as he advances a vision for infrastructure that involves private capital investment, tax credits and toll revenue. Porcari, himself a former deputy secretary of transportation under President Barack Obama, appeared at pains to signal to the Trump administration that his group would aggressively investigate the possibility of seeking a private partner to help finance the tunnel's construction.”
Porcari said, "We've always had a very open mind as to how best to build it. That's something we're actively evaluating."
"Those numbers are better known than they were before. The cost numbers will continue to be refined."
John Porcari, interim Gateway Development Corp. Executive Director said the estimated costs have increased for the construction of the new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.