Despite not having total funding in place, Amtrak officials said the $13 billion Hudson River tunnel project could begin as early as March 2018, when the environmental reviews are complete, according to Curbed New York. The project faces pressure from the Hudson Yards project finishing up near a critical juncture for the rail.
The Obama administration promised that the federal government would pay for half of the critical Northeast Corridor rail project, but it is uncertain whether President Donald Trump will honor that commitment. The Gateway Program Development Corporation (GPDC) has started to explore private financing in case the federal money doesn't materialize.
The tunnel is part of the projected $30 billion Gateway Program, which aims to ease rail congestion through a series of major capital projects, including the $1.6 billion conversion of the James A. Farley Post Office to the Moynihan Train Hall and the $1.5 billion replacement of the North Portal Bridge, which spans the Hackensack River in New Jersey.
The private sector is already playing a significant role in the Gateway Program. The joint venture of Related Cos., Vornado Realty Trust and Skanska USA are performing the Moynihan Train Hall conversion under a fixed-price, design-build contract. The JV also contributed $630 million to the project in exchange for operating rights.
New York state's development division, Empire State Development, borrowed $537.1 million for the project from the U.S. Department of Transportation through a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and federal grants will pay for the rest.
In August, Amtrak began seeking a private master developer to overhaul the Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, according to Global Railway Review. The rail company issued a Request for Qualifications for a firm that can design, build, finance, operate and maintain the property's non-rail components and commercially develop Amtrak's other holdings nearby the station.
For an example of a major infrastructure project underway in the city via public-private partnership (P3), Amtrak can look to the $4 billion Central Terminal project at LaGuardia Airport. LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) is financing, designing, building, operating and maintaining the terminal under a P3 with the Port Authority. Skanska is part of the LGP team. The construction giant said its $2.8 billion share of the contract makes it the company's biggest project ever.