Hudson River tunnel project officials explore private sector options
- The Gateway Program Development Corporation (GPDC), the board that will manage construction of New York's Hudson River Project, has agreed to consider private construction and financing options, according to Reuters.
- The Hudson River Project, part of Amtrak's $24 billion Northeast Corridor Gateway initiative, will see a new tunnel serving Pennsylvania Station in New York City, as well as repairs to an existing tunnel that sustained extensive damage during 2012's Superstorm Sandy.
- The GPDC decision means that the tunnel projects could be completed as public-private partnerships, and project officials said private companies have already expressed interest in participating.
For a number of projects that are included in the Gateway program, Amtrak has partnered with agencies that share rails. GPDC officials, however, are reportedly awaiting the final word from the Trump administration concerning how much the federal government will contribute to the project.
The portion of the Gateway project between Newark, NJ, and New York City is on the Trump administration's list of high-priority infrastructure projects released in January. The list floats a focus on public-private partnerships for projects — which could include the Northeast Corridor — echoing calls from the administration and Congressional Republicans to leverage private investment for national infrastructure improvements.
A major commitment to the Gateway project came in October from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey when it approved $300 million to go toward replacement of the Portal Bridge, which spans the Hackensack River and is part of service into Penn Station. The aging bridge has been a source of frequent service disruptions along the Northeast Corridor.
The Gateway project's $4.5 billion replacement of Amtrak's 144-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel. In March, the Federal Railroad Administration selected a route for the new tunnel, which will operate underneath a residential neighborhood. Those living above the tunnel's proposed path have raised concerns about noise and the potential hazards of dangerous freight passing below.
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