Hudson Tunnel Start Pushed Back a Year as Cost Estimate Rises

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The proposed Hudson River rail tunnel’s cost has climbed by $275 million and its start date has been pushed to 2022 while planners await an environmental sign-off and face uncertainty about federal funding, according to the project’s latest financial plan.

The new estimated cost is $11.6 billion to build a two-track tunnel and rehabilitate Amtrak’s only link between New York and New Jersey, according to an updated financial plan released by the Gateway Program Development Corp. That’s almost 3% higher than the most recent estimate of $11.3 billion -- a figure that was adjusted down from $12.7 billion after planners made project adjustments, in part to increase chances of a federal cost share.

President Donald Trump’s administration, though, has said New York and New Jersey, and not the federal government, should bear a higher cost burden because the tunnel would serve the Northeastern U.S. and New York City commuters. The planners pushed back the start date one year, and that relies on securing approval this year for a draft environmental impact statement that was submitted for final consideration in February 2018.

New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have pledged $5.55 billion for the tunnel, a portion of Amtrak’s broader Gateway proposal to improve New York City-area train service. Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, has promised $1.3 billion.

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