- The Federal Transit Administration has struck a deal with the New Jersey Transit Corp. to fund the $1.9 billion Portal North Bridge project with a $766.5 million Capital Investment Grant. The balance of the money will come from the Federal Highway Administration ($57 million), New Jersey ($811 million) and Amtrak ($251 million).
- New Jersey Transit will build a new two-track, fixed-span railroad bridge that will replace the existing 110-year-old swing-span bridge, which crosses the Hackensack River in New Jersey and is part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line that connects Boston to Washington, D.C., via rail. The project will also include almost 2.5 miles of related infrastructure.
- New Jersey Transit will be the primary owner of the bridge, but Amtrak will maintain it. The new bridge will be built high enough so that marine traffic will be able to pass underneath without stopping traffic, and other benefits include improved reliability and faster train speeds. Construction is expected to take five years.
Costs for the entire Gateway initiative focused on rail lines in New York and New Jersey have been estimated at anywhere between $24 billion to $30 billion, and a big chunk of that is the Hudson Tunnel project. The tunnel is aging and requires a great deal of maintenance, particularly after being inundated by seawater during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The price to build a new tunnel and repair the existing one is currently $11.6 billion.
Project planning made little headway during the President Donald Trump administration, which did not honor a reported deal between New York, New Jersey and the Barack Obama administration that the federal government would pay for half of the costs.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently told media outlets that Pete Buttigieg, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Transportation Secretary, was familiar with the Gateway program and was interested in seeing the tunnel for himself, according to NorthJersey.com.
About 400 trains pass through the tunnel each day, and Murphy's office has reported that a shutdown of just one of the tunnel's two tubes for a day could cost the local and national economy $100 million.
Other projects that are part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor Program are:
- The Susquehanna Bridge in Baltimore.
- The Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel in Maryland.
- The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall connected to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.
The Moynihan Train Hall project saw the expansion of Penn Station into the James A. Farley Building, which used to be New York City's main post office. The new station opened Jan. 1 and features new baggage, waiting and customer seating areas, as well as a new customer lounge, bathrooms and food and beverage venues,