The Gateway Development Commission (GDC) board voted Sept. 13 to make the organization the Project Sponsor for the full Hudson Tunnel Project, marking a critical step to receive the billions in federal funding needed to start, and complete, the construction.
The Project Sponsor – currently the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – is responsible for overseeing and completing the project on time and within budget, applying for and receiving federal loans, and ensuring that the project meets all of its federal requirements and responsibilities.
The GDC will now work with the Port Authority to officially notify the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration of the change and take next steps to complete the transfer of sponsorship.
“The region and nation have waited long enough for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel to be built, and we are moving forward aggressively on every step necessary to qualify the project for federal funds so full construction can get started,” said GDC Chief Executive Officer Kris Kolluri. “Between taking responsibility for delivering the project, building up the organization’s capacity, and demonstrating that we are serious about pursuing billions in RRIF [Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing] loans, we’re making clear that it’s time for serious action on this project.”
“It is vital that GDC has the responsibility, structure and expertise to deliver on this project for the millions of riders who need a 21st Century rail link connecting New York and New Jersey to the rest of the Northeast Corridor,” said New Jersey co-Chair Balpreet Grewal Virk. “We’ll continue to be laser focused on ensuring that happens.”
Alicia Glen, the New York co-chair, said taking responsibility for building the Hudson Tunnel Project is what GDC was created to do.
“We will continue to work closely with our governors and partners to ensure GDC is up to the immense challenge of delivering the first rail link under the Hudson in more than a century,” said Glen.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the board also approved measures to continue the project’s advancement and to bolster GDC’s eligibility to receive federal funds. Those include:
- an $11 million operating budget for the remainder of 2022,
- delegating authority to the GDC CEO, Kolluri, to enter into and execute various agreements and contracts on behalf of the Commission,
- and expending up to $750,000 for necessary fees to move forward with the Build America RRIF loan for the local portion of the Tunnel’s funding, which is part of the federal loan process.
“We’ve long promised to make GDC the entity responsible for building the most urgent infrastructure project in the nation, and today we’re taking a major step toward meeting that commitment,” said Anthony Coscia, GDC vice-chair and Amtrak board chairman. “The Project Sponsor will own this project, and we as partners must work together with the Biden Administration and Congress to make sure that ownership pays off in jobs, economic activity, and better quality of life for riders.”