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Feds rescind Trump rule, giving boost to Hudson rail tunnel

Check out one of the major chokepoints for Penn Station train traffic
Posted at 3:21 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 15:21:29-05

NEWARK — Federal transit officials have reversed a Trump administration policy from 2018 that supporters of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River say had stalled the project.

The Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that didn't allow states or local entities to use federal loans as part of their funding match to get federal grants.

The FTA had cited a funding shortfall to give the tunnel low ratings for the past few years, making it ineligible for the key federal grants.

The $11 billion project is seen as vital to increase rail capacity and allow for the overhaul of the existing, 110-year-old tunnel.

“Getting the Gateway Program done is of critical importance to our economic future and to the lives of the thousands of commuters who deserve safe and modern infrastructure," said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement. "For four long years, President Trump let the Hudson Tunnel Project languish and twist in the political wind. Now, under President Biden, we can make up for lost time and get this vital program – and the thousands of jobs it will produce — back on track.

Murphy expressed his gratitude with new Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on the accomplishment.

“I spoke with Secretary Buttigieg recently and raised my concerns on this funding issue with him directly, and I am pleased to see this action taken.”