(VitalNews.org) – The Hudson Gateway Project has been granted nearly $4 billion of funding and will see its next phase begin in December, according to Senator Chuck Schumer. The long-awaited railway tunnels, which will pass underneath the Hudson River, and which have faced a series of setbacks and delays since the idea was first conceived, are scheduled to open to trains in 2035.
Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a press conference on Friday November 3 to discuss the latest developments in the $16.1 billion tunnel program. The current phase of development is already underway, with construction work already beginning this month. The project will see the current tunnel that allows rail transit between New York and New Jersey undergo major repairs, as well as a new tunnel being built alongside it. The existing tunnel has stood for a century and was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy which battered the east coast in October 2012. The tunnel had already experienced some corrosion, but the force of the incoming saltwater exacerbated the existing damage and made clear the need for repairs.
Buttigieg told reporters that the Hudson Gateway Project will stand as “the most significant” of the country’s infrastructure projects and said that he believed it was a priority for the nation. The aim of the project is to prevent breakdowns in the northeast rail system and to ease pressure on overcrowded trains, with its proponents arguing that while the cost of the project is large, the economic gains will make it worthwhile. The project itself is slated to create 72,000 union jobs, and once both tunnels are fully functional it is predicted that 200,000 people will travel through them each day, facilitating greater numbers of commuters and benefiting the local economy.
Amtrak has thus far spent $200 million on improving the existing tunnel, with Chairman Tony Coscia telling the press that the plan is to keep the current tunnel is usable condition until the new one is built.
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