President Biden is expected to join Gov. Hochul, Mayor Adams and other electeds in Manhattan on Tuesday to announce a $292 million federal grant that will bankroll construction of parts of two long-stalled Hudson River rail tunnels.
The so-called Hudson Tunnel Project, the largest piece of the behemoth Gateway Program, will when complete carry trains beneath the Hudson Yards, back and forth from Penn Station and the Secaucus station in New Jersey, 4½ miles away.
The Biden grant will cover about half of the price tag for building the concrete casing for the tunnels — “a critical early phase” of the project, a White House official said.
A bevy of big-name Dems — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy and Sen. Cory Booker — are also expected to join Biden for the Tuesday afternoon press conference at Hudson Yards, according to the White House. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is set to attend, too.
The $292 million tunnel grant comes courtesy of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by Biden in late 2021.
Once complete, the Hudson Tunnel Project is supposed to produce 72,000 “good-paying” jobs and improve train reliability for 200,000 weekday passengers on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak, according to the White House. In addition to building two new tunnels, the project will rehabilitate the existing ones, which first opened in 1910.
[ Cuomo, Murphy sign legislation establishing commission for $30 billion Hudson River tunnel project ]
The total estimated cost for the tunnel project was upped last year from $14.1 billion to $16.1 billion. The new tunnels are not expected to be done until 2038, though that timeline has already been moved up several times.
The multi-step expansion and renovation of the entire Northeast Corridor rail line between Newark and the city, known as the Gateway Program, has long been marred by delays.
The massive infrastructure project suffered several funding and operational setbacks under former President Donald Trump, whose Transportation Department made Gateway a “medium-low” priority.
Biden’s visit to New York comes as the city continues its scramble to shelter and provide services for tens of thousands of mostly Latin American migrants who have arrived since last spring.
For months, Adams and Hochul have lamented a lack of financial and logistical aid from Biden’s administration to help New York deal with the deepening migrant crisis.