Monday, June 08, 2009

Feds will provide $3 billion for trans-Hudson rail tunnel

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At a ceremony Monday in North Bergen, N.J., marking the ceremonial start of construction for a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff pledged $3 billion in federal funding to fully cover the cost ofthe $8.7 billion project, called Access to the Region’s Core Mass Transit Tunnel.

Rogoff said the FTA would offer a "down payment”  toward an eventual commitment of $3 billion by approving a $1.35 billion Early Systems Work Agreement to immediately commence work on the tunnel project. The Agreement includes $650 million in federal funds, including funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to be matched by an equal amount of local funding.

“This project has been talked about for decades. Because of New Jersey’s leadership and President Obama’s recovery agenda, today the talk stops and the construction begins,” Rogoff said. “The Obama Administration is committed to being a full partner in this historic investment. It will put thousands of people to work. It will improve the lives of many thousands more by shortening their commute.”  

The tunnel will allow New Jersey Transit trains access to a new station in midtown Manhattan, north and east of existing Penn Station. Monday’s ceremony marked construction of a bridge to span U.S. Routes 1 and 9 over the new tunnel’s mouth on the New Jersey side.

The project is targeted for completion in 2016, and is paired with a second $1.7 billion project to replace the Northeast Corridor’s Portal Bridge, which spans the Hackensack River in the New Jersey Meadowlands.