NEW YORK – New York and New Jersey leaders announced that they have reached an agreement on funding commitments and a governance structure that will allow the critically important Gateway Tunnel Project to move forward. The agreement marks a major milestone in the effort to build a new trans-Hudson river tunnel that is an essential portion of Amtrak’s eight-state Northeast Corridor that connects the states of New York and New Jersey and is one of our region’s most critical major infrastructure projects.
The framework agreement includes a first-ever federal funding commitment that Senators Schumer and Booker secured from the US Department of Transportation and Amtrak to cover no less than 50% of the project costs via grants and other federal funding described below. The 50% federal funding commitment comes in response to Governor Cuomo’s and Governor Christie’s letter of September 15, 2015 in which they announced that the two States would take responsibility for developing a funding plan to cover the other half of the project costs if the federal government committed to provide half of the funding.
In order to develop a financing plan for the Gateway Project, the newly established Gateway Development Corporation (“Corporation”) shall identify and maximize federal grant opportunities in conjunction with USDOT, and will pursue a low interest loan from the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (“RRIF”), and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (“TIFIA”) that will allow all Project partners to access capital as inexpensively as possible. Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in building one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation, the Senators and Governors intend to work together to ensure that payment of debt service is deferred to the time when the Gateway Project is placed into service to the nation.
In addition, the federal and state partners agreed, due to the nature of this project and to make it a reality in a timely manner, to work together to expedite all environmental and planning approvals needed to bring this project online as soon as possible.
As part of the agreement Governors Christie and Cuomo announced they will immediately direct the Port Authority of NYNJ in consultation with its federal partners – Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) – to establish a development corporation to oversee the construction and execution of the Gateway Project.
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