The federal government is preparing to give $6.88 billion for the construction of a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River to New York City. This will mark the biggest investment ever put into a mass-transit project.

The investment is part of the infrastructure project Gateway. The new tunnel would offer an improved method of transportation, in comparison to the single-track tunnels that opened in 1910 and have since deteriorated.

Though the pandemic has reduced the number of New Jersey commuters arriving at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, travel has been increasing since 2020, and officials fear that one of the existing tracks will soon give out.

Gateway’s planners can now start searching for companies to construct the tunnel, which is expected to be completed in 2035 and will be a $16 billion project. The governors of New York and New Jersey have agreed to split the local share of the cost.

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New Jersey residents are skeptical of the new project. In 2009, the Federal Transit Administration pledged $3 billion to build a train tunnel under the Hudson River. However, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled the project, claiming that his state could not afford local costs.

However, officials are confident that construction will commence as early as next year.

“This was the major hurdle, getting this kind of very large investment from the federal government, and here it is,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) in a statement. “This is real, and it means there’s no turning back now.”

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