The governors of NY and New Jersey on Wednesday pledged to fund 100 percent of their states' share of the new Gateway Hudson Tunnel.
In its own letter to the GDC, NJ Transit, the state's public transportation corporation, said it would increase charges on NJ Transit rail passenger trips across the Hudson to $1.70 in 2028 and $2.20 in 2038 from $.90 beginning in 2020.
NY said it would propose an appropriation in its annual executive budget for 35 years to pay debt service on a $1.75 billion fixed-interest loan to the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC), according to a December 13 letter from the state to the GDC and the U.S. Department of Transportation. "Now the federal government must fulfill its commitment to fund the other half and make this urgent, long-overdue project a reality".
The tunnel project, estimated to cost about $12.9 billion, is part of a larger, $24 billion Gateway Program that also includes expanding Penn Station and building new bridges to better connect Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. They believe the work is necessary to avoid the "disastrous scenario" of a closure of one of the two tubes of the existing Amtrak North River Tunnel, which would slow rail traffic to a crawl.
"Under Gov. Christie, New Jersey has consistently been the last one to the table, both on Gateway and its predecessor, Access to the Region's Core", said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, citing the commuter rail project Christie killed in 2010. He lamented that NJ Transit's financial contribution will be done through rate increases on riders.
"I'd like to know whether there were alternatives that did not involve further fare hikes and if so why they were not pursued", he said.
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NY will fund $1.75 billion while New Jersey Transit will add $1.9 billion to the $1.9 billion already committed by the board of commissioners of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey for a total of $5.55 billion.
Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie on Thursday committed to pay for about half of a vital new train tunnel under the Hudson River, putting pressure on the Trump administration to fund the rest. Christie said he was concerned that New Jersey taxpayers would have to shoulder the overruns.
If one of the two existing tracks went offline, capacity along the line would drop by 75 percent, resulting in a commuter nightmare, New Jersey and NY officials say.
NJ Transit, the nation's third-largest provider of bus, rail and light rail, carries roughly 100,000 rail commuters per day from New Jersey to NY either directly or via connections to other carriers.
After a meeting earlier this week with Sens.