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Financing For New Hudson River Rail Tunnels Still Up In the Air

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A mess of train delays in late July reignited conversation about the dire need for a new trans-Hudson tunnel between New York City and New Jersey, and in late summer when news is as slow as molasses, updates to its funding—or lack thereof—seem to be the only things coming across the wire this month. A New York Times editorial published this morning coherently sums every minor, mind-numbing update to the project over the last few weeks, which essentially all conclude that the project is still without funding. Let's take a look back at what's been going on with the project, shall we?

In 2010, Jersey governor Chris Christie put the kibosh on a major infrastructure project that would have linked the two states after fearing that his state would be footing an inordinate amount of the bill. Despite the growing and unquestionable need for a new tunnel, a lack of financing remains at the center of its delay. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called a sit down a few weeks ago with Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss funding the new tunnel, with an open letter from the head of Port Authority to Foxx calling for more than a $3 billion commitment to the estimated $15 billion-plus project coming shortly after.

Cuomo has quipped in weeks past that the project is more New Jersey's burden, which the Times calls out as a negotiating tactic to lower New York's eventual contribution to the project. "But it makes no sense," the Times says of Cuomo's finger-wagging, "Without all those people coming in and out of the New York City, the state's economy would sag and state tax revenue would drop with it."

New York State Senator Chuck Schumer added his two cents to the issue last week, saying that continued train delays could mean "a regional transportation Armageddon" for the area. Schumer along with Amtrak called for the creation of a nonprofit corporation that would take on the task of funding and building the much-needed tunnels that would replace the 105-year-old faltering corridors. The corporation would be comprised of all parties that would benefit from the project and be financed by them as well.

Amtrak's Gateway Program estimates that the project will cost roughly $20 billion: $14 billion for new rails and tunnels and $6 billion for a Penn Station expansion and a new Portal Bridge for New Jersey, which all trains pass over en route to the tunnel.
· Build a New Hudson River Tunnel [NYT]
· Cries For New Hudson River Rail Tunnels Grows Louder [Curbed]
· Tunnel Watch [Curbed]
· All Gateway Project coverage [Curbed]