Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hudson tunnel project lurches forward in New Jersey

Construction of a rail tunnel at the Hudson Yards redevelopment site. | AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Ryan Hutchins writes in Politico

A plan to build a new rail tunnel inking New York and New Jersey took a major step forward Thursday when the Gateway Program Development Corp. held its first public meeting, formally establishing a central clearinghouse for planning and funding the project.

The board of the new agency — a partnership between NJ Transit, Amtrak, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the U.S. Department of Transportation — will be headed by Richard Bagger, a former New Jersey state senator who served as Gov. Chris Christie’s chief of staff. Bagger is also a Port Authority commissioner.

In its first action, the board of trustees approved a resolution allowing the corporation to enter into an “emerging projects agreement” with DOT. The arrangement will allow for continued technical assistance from federal transportation officials and sets up a process by which the corporation can access federal loans.

“The emerging projects agreement will codify that work and formalize that kind of assistance — technical assistance — to move the project forward,”

John Porcari, the interim executive director of the corporation, said at the meeting in Newark. “It also, from the Gateway development perspective, lays down a marker for federal loan programs, with the explicit recognition that up to $6 billion of federal loan capacity will be needed for these projects.”

Previously, the exact amount of the loans that the corporation will be seeking had not been discussed. The Port Authority is also planning to include $2.7 billion in its 10-year capital program to support debt service.

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