Hudson Tunnel gets Biden funding boost

17 February 2021

Trump administration policy, which had effectively blocked funding for the construction of a rail tunnel under the Hudson River, has been rescinded by the US Department of Transportation, thanks to a policy reversal inspired by the Biden presidency.

The change of heart comes as the new administration raises the project’s rating, thereby making it eligible for federal funding. Both New York and New Jersey will now find it easier to fund their 50% share of the US$12bn project costs.

Both states had previously planned to borrow under a planned payback scheme using low-cost federal loan programmes. But the project was blocked by Trump, stalling progress on the much-needed tunnel. Rather than approve any federal funding, Trump lowered the project’s rating, making it ineligible for federal aid. In sharp contrast, Biden is well known for his support of the project, having been a frequent user of Amtrak, the pan-US rail service.

The Hudson Tunnel Project aims to provide a new, two-track rail tunnel to allow better commuter access between New Jersey and Manhattan. It forms part of Phase 1B of the Gateway Programme, a massive rail improvement scheme for a key section of the country’s Northeast Corridor – the most heavily used of US passenger rail lines.

When completed, the proposed tunnel will complement the existing 110-year-old twin-tubed North River Tunnel which suffered extensive damage following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.