But are fare hikes worth paying for new rail tunnels?

NY and New Jersey have agreed on how to pay their share of an estimated $13 billion project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

The commitment from the governors follows a 2015 framework agreement in which the federal government will fund 50% of the Gateway Tunnel project.

NY will fund $1.75 billion while New Jersey Transit will add $1.9 billion to the $1.9 billion already committed by the board of commissioners of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey for a total of $5.55 billion.

This is considered an important next step in the construction of the Hudson River Tunnel Project which will run near Hoboken, Weehawken and North Bergen to eventually access Secaucus Junction rail terminal.

The Gateway project, which involves building a new train tunnel connecting the two states under the Hudson River, is projected to cost around $30 billion.

"You wait until the last minute to take action, and then you settle for some deal that got cut in a back room somewhere so that one side or one politician or another gets a win without regard for the impact that it may have".

If one tube in the existing two-tube Hudson River tunnel fails before the project is completed, train service between New Jersey and NY would be reduced by 75 percent, according to Amtrak.

A new plan will have NJ TRANSIT riders shelling out more to get into the city.

The US$5.55bn fully funds the local share for the most urgent, time-sensitive elements of the Gateway Hudson Tunnel project: the construction of a new tunnel and the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing, which total US$11.1bn of the total US$12.7bn construction cost.

"It positions the project to immediately compete for federal Capital Investment Grant funds", said Christie.

The surcharge is needed to pay for the cost of rail tunnels. "Now the federal government must fulfill its commitment to fund the other half and make this urgent, long-overdue project a reality".

Under the commitments announced this month, Cuomo will propose in the state's executive budget an appropriation each year over a 35-year period to pay debt service on a $1.75 billion fixed-interest loan under the U.S. Department of Transportation's Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program.

"It's time for the president to commit to fully fund the vital Gateway tunnel project because it is so important to our regional and national economy", said Schumer, from NY. They believe the work is necessary to avoid the "disastrous scenario" of a closure of one of the two tubes of the existing Amtrak North River Tunnel, which would slow rail traffic to a crawl.


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