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Gateway tunnel project maybe impeded by Trump's budget cuts

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Initial construction on the trans-Hudson project was supposed to begin this year

Courtesy of Amtrak

The Gateway tunnel project may be derailed by the funding cuts announced as part of President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint this week. The Gateway Project—a $20 billion plan to replace the tunnels below the Hudson River (and other infrastructural improvements) connecting New Jersey to Manhattan—is largely dependent on a grant program known as New Starts.

Under the budget cuts to the Department of Transportation—a 17 percent drop from the previous year, and the lowest transportation budget in 18 years, according to the New York Times, the New Starts grant would likely be eliminated, Politico reports.

From now on, this grant will likely be reserved for projects that already have an existing funding agreement in place. Just about a year ago, early work was ready to commence on the project with a $70 million cash infusion from Amtrak and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A few months prior to that, the project’s future looked promising, having been included as part of a $300 billion, five-year transportation bill.

All of that budget talk may now be upended with the latest cuts. The first order of duty was to replace the Portal Bridge, over the Hackensack River, which was supposed to get underway this year, but its future is now in doubt.

The cuts came as a surprise to those working on the Gateway Project, according to Politico, since Trump had placed an emphasis on infrastructural spending during his campaign. The White House budget director told reporters this week that a full fledged transportation initiative had yet to be presented, and that additional funding for projects like Gateway maybe included in that, according to Politico.

The United States Congress still has to approve the budget, of course, but talks about cuts could certainly delay the Gateway project if not impede it completely.