Senate committee approves funds toward Gateway Tunnel

13 June 2018

US – The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a FY2019 transportation and housing bill on June 7, which provides funding to a variety of transportation infrastructure, including the Gateway program.

Overall the bill provides USD 71.4bn in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies. The bill is USD 1.1bn above FY2018 enacted levels, but discretionary appropriations for transportation – USD 26.6bn for the U.S. Department of Transportation for FY2019 is USD 698M below the FY2018 enacted level. The bill was approved 31-0.

“This bipartisan bill is the product of considerable negotiation and compromise. I worked closely with Ranking Member Reed in drafting this bill, and we received input from 70 Senators with more than 800 requests, all of which we carefully evaluated,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

The money isn't earmarked for the tunnels. The Federal Rail Administration (FRA) will get USD 2.8bn of which USD 1.9bn is set for Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and national network, continuing service for all current routes. The bill provides USD 262M for FRA safety and operations, as well as research and development activities.

“Our nation’s continued economic growth is directly impacted by critical investments in infrastructure and community development,” said Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

Additionally, the bill provides USD 255M for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants program, USD 300M for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants, and USD 10M for restoration and enhancement grants.

The Gateway Program focuses on a 10-mile segment of the NEC, and includes a program of projects that would replace and update rail infrastructure assets that, in many cases, are over 100 years old, as well as increase track, tunnel, bridge and station capacity. This segment of the NEC carries more than 200,000 daily Amtrak and NJ Transit riders on approximately 450 trains.

The Gateway Program’s first phase includes the construction of a new tunnel under the Hudson River, the rehabilitation of the existing tunnel, the completion of a concrete casing on the West Side of Manhattan to preserve right-of-way for the future tunnel to PSNY, and the replacement of the Portal Bridge.