Pundits are calling it this generation’s version of the building of the George Washington Bridge, and it moves closer to reality today.
The Port Authority is expected today to authorize the first $1 billion of spending to develop and build a new two-track rail tunnel from New Jersey into midtown Manhattan. Another $1b is likely to go into the project by the end of this year. The Star-Ledger says the tunnel’s estimated cost is $6b; the New York Times says it’s $7.2b, when adjusted for expected inflation.
The project, sponsored mainly by NJ Transit, is slated to begin construction in 2009 and be completed in 2016.
The Ledger reports that the PA sees today’s action as a way of prodding the federal governement to pony up a good chunk of the remaining cost:
Agency officials hope their commitment ultimately will spur the federal government to fund at least half of the second trans-Hudson rail tunnel’s estimated $6 billion price tag.
“By making this kind of commitment now, we’re sending a message to Washington that there are enormous local resources behind this project,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia.
The PA and other backers of the plan contend the addition of the tunnel would double rail capacity into and out of the city.