Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a joint letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday requesting the federal funding and expedited approvals needed for a new Hudson River rail tunnel project.In the letter, Christie and Cuomo note that they feel it would be “appropriate and fair” for the federal government to provide grants for up to half of the total cost of the project, which they deem to be approximately $20 billion. In the governors’ proposal, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would pay for the remaining half.
“The key step on the tunnel is to secure federal funding and design a viable financial package,” Christie and Cuomo wrote. “With a viable financial plan, we can finally get this critical project moving. We assure you that, if we have the funding, we will get it done. Our shovels are ready!”
In 2010, citing the risk for rising costs to the state, Christie killed the Access to the Region’s Core project, which would have funded new a tunnel to the tune of $8.7 billion. But calls for rail tunnels have intensified in the last year after Amtrak officials noted that the existing pair of 105-year-old tunnels had roughly 20 years left on them before at least one would have to be closed for major repair work, presenting a potential nightmare scenario for commuters.
Last month, Christie met with various state and federal officials about a new plan.
“As the Governors of New York and New Jersey, we are both committed to funding our fair share of the cost and, at our direction, the jointly operated Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is ready and willing to help,” the governors wrote. “Our states are committed to doing our part and to contributing funding, personnel and resources. We know how to build a tunnel.”