Hudson Tunnel project costs rise by US$275m

2 September 2020

A recent updated financial plan has revealed that the overall costs of the Hudson River rail tunnel project now stand at US$11.6bn, an increase of US$275m. The projected start of major construction has also been pushed back by one year to 2022 due to uncertainties over federal funding and environmental sign-off.

The proposed project includes a new two-track, single-bore tunnel under the Hudson River; rehabilitation of the existing 109-year-old North River Tunnel (Amtrak’s sole line between New York and New Jersey); and completion of the final section of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of the project as the US seeks to reinvigorate the economy and restore jobs.

The latest financial plan envisages a commitment to the sharing of US$5.55bn of construction costs between the states of New York, New Jersey, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The latter has pledged US$2.75bn while Amtrak (the US rail authority) has committed US$1.3bn.

But project sponsors are seeking nearly US$5.5bn – representing 44.3% of total project costs – from federal transit funds. This is not acceptable to the Trump administration, which says that the tunnel would benefit the Northeast US and New York city commuters, therefore the higher burden of cost should be borne by New York and New Jersey, not by the federal government.

Along with the Portal North Bridge, the Hudson Tunnel Project is a key component of the Gateway Programme. The comprehensive rail investment scheme is designed to create new capacity for a critical section of the Northeast Corridor – the most heavily-used passenger rail line in the country.