Workers Break Ground to Create Second Tunnel Connecting NY and NJ Under the Hudson
By Yehudit Garmaise
Workers’ shovels finally broke ground on Friday, after 30 years of delay, to launch construction that will build a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
Currently, 200,000 passengers travel on trains to get back and forth to and from New York and New Jersey each day.
As the pandemic recedes into memory, however, most northeastern residents’ travel demands will continue to increase, according to the Regional Plan Association, which studies the development of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
In what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called, the “nation’s largest public works project,” the U.S. Congress has allocated an additional $3.8 billion to finally complete the Gateway Tunnel Project that will not only create a second tunnel to serve Amtrack and New Jersey Transit, but will repair the one existing tunnel, which Hurricane Sandy damaged 11 years ago.
While the $6.88 billion that Schumer previously announced in July was allocated to fund the Gateway Tunnel’s concrete core and shell, the newly secured $3.8 billion will cover the costs of the new tunnel’s track, signals, and systems.
The “new dollars,” Schumer says, “will assure Gateway’s future. All systems are go. There is no turning back.”
The Gateway Tunnel Project’s groundbreaking has been long in coming, says Schumer, who thanked President Joe Biden for allocating funds for the tunnel project as part of 2021’s $1 trillion bill that seeks to bolster and improve infrastructure, such as bridges, tunnels, and roads: all across the United States.
“For 30 years, American travelers, businesses, and workers have been hoping for this day,” said Governor Kathy Hochul, who blamed the tunnel’s delay on “inaction, excuses, and infighting.”
Although the Obama administration prioritized the Gateway Tunnel as “one of the country’s most important infrastructure projects,” the project was stalled during the term of President Donald Trump, who influenced Congress to slash infrastructure funding.
The tunnel project will not only benefit commuters but all New Yorkers by creating 72,000 jobs and boosting the economy by $19 billion, Schumer projected.