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August 28, 2020
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Hudson Tunnel plan updated as Feds allocate grants

An updated plan for the Hudson Tunnel Project has been submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program grants allocated.
Hudson Tunnel plan updated as Feds allocate grants

The Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) has announced that an updated financial plan for construction of the megaproject has been submitted in response to the FTA’s annual call for projects for the CIG Program.

The project includes the construction of a new two-track rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River, the comprehensive rehabilitation of the existing 109-year-old North River Tunnel, and the completion of the third and final section of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing.

The 2020 financial plan includes a continued local share construction cost commitment of USD5.55bn from the State of New York, State of New Jersey, and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

According to the GDC that commitment continues to meet and exceed the threshold for an improved rating in the CIG process. The Port Authority’s funding commitment alone surpasses the requirement to qualify for CIG funding. The updated financial plan also includes a continued Amtrak commitment of nearly USD1.3bn.  

Steven M. Cohen, New York Trustee and Chair of the GDC said: “All of our partners, the two states, the Port Authority, and Amtrak, remain fully committed to getting a new Hudson Tunnel built and rehabilitating the existing nearly 110-year-old tubes. Together, their funding commitments more than qualify the project for an improved financial plan rating from FTA. Now we need a Federal Administration that works with us.”

Overall construction costs for the project increased USD275m, due to escalation from the delay in starting major construction, which cannot begin until a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Record of Decision (ROD) for the new tunnel and rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel are issued.  

Cohen added: “With the COVID pandemic, the project has only taken on even more urgency as the nation looks to bring back jobs and stimulate the economy, essential workers need reliable transportation in the short term, and the region and nation need 21st century rail transportation to build better infrastructure for the long term.”

The GDC has also announced that it has made substantial progress in advancing its pre-procurement “Virtual Data Room” as a tool for the private sector to partner with the Hudson Tunnel Project.

GDC Interim CEO Frank Sacr said: “In creating the Data Room, our goal was to provide the private sector with a unique early opportunity to work hand-in-hand with us in the pre-procurement process. That way, we can develop a procurement for the Hudson Tunnel that reflects the input of industry partners with local and global tunneling experience. So far, it’s been a great addition for us to have that depth of knowledge and expertise as we move Gateway forward.”

The virtual data room will continue to be updated as the Phase 2 Supplemental Geotechnical Investigation Program comes to completion in the coming months, and Qualified Organizations can continue to request secure access to the Virtual Data Room through the GDC website.

Next stop; November 3?

On Wednesday the Trump Administration announced a total of USD400m in federal funding will be allocated by the FTA to four transit infrastructure projects including the Hudson County Portal North Bridge Project in New Jersey. USD248m has been allocated in FY 2018 and FY 2019 CIG funds to the GDC project.

The project is construction of a new, two-track fixed structure railroad bridge across the Hackensack River in Hudson County along the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The project will replace the existing bridge which is over 100 years old and represents a significant operational bottleneck.

The other projects are the Northwest Extension Phase II Project in Phoenix (USD50.6m), the Double Track Northwest Indiana Project in Gary (USD50.6m), and the Kansas City Streetcar Main Street Extension Project in Missouri (USD50.8m).

“The significance of today’s federal funding announcement for the KC Streetcar cannot be overstated,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority.

“This federal funding will allow our team to advance final design and move into long awaited construction, realizing a transit vision for Kansas City that has been decades in the making. Thanks to amazing support from the Federal Transit Administration, our project partners at RideKC and Kansas City, Missouri, and our extremely supportive congressional delegation, the KC Streetcar Main Street Extension Project is a go. It’s a great day for Kansas City.”

These four projects are advancing towards readiness to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) under the CIG Program. The projects must meet additional requirements in law before a grant can be awarded.

"This USD400m federal investment will help ensure that critical updates can be made to our country's public transit systems so they remain safe and operational," said US. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

"These critical rail transit infrastructure projects will help communities improve transit service as they continue to address the impacts of COVID-19 and recover from this public health emergency," added FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams.

On Thursday the FTA announced a USD99.9m grant through the CIG program to the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) for the South Corridor Rapid Transit Project in Florida. A USD299.9m 20-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. With this announcement, FTA has advanced funding for 39 new CIG projects under the Trump administration totaling approximately USD9.7bn in funding commitments.

Williams said: "This federal investment is an economic boost for Miami-Dade County as the project will create jobs and help communities recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency."

Oliver G. Gilbert III, Miami-Dade TPO Chairman said: “On behalf of the Miami-Dade TPO Governing Board, I am pleased to learn about USDOT’s USD100 million commitment for the South Corridor of the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan. On August 30, 2018, the TPO Governing Board approved Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for this 20-mile exclusive transitway, between the Dadeland South Metrorail Station and Florida City. This SMART Plan corridor will increase connectivity from South Dade to Downtown Miami, as well as enhance mobility options and access to opportunities, including employment, education, and recreation, in Miami-Dade County.”

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