New Jersey Transit in the US now has nearly half of the $7.2bn needed to build a second commuter rail tunnel to New York City – giving it a big edge as it competes for federal funding to pay for the rest of the work, officials say.
The next step is to get the federal government to agree by 2008 to fund the rest of the project. Construction is expected to begin in 2009 and be completed in 2016.
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority unanimously approved Governor Corzine’s proposal Monday to swap $1bn in federal funding expected for roads to help build the Trans-Hudson Tunnel project.
The decision allows what some say is the state’s most important mass-transit project to stay “on schedule” as an environmental impact statement is completed, NJ Transit officials say.
“Our long-range plan identifies it as the region’s highest transit-expansion priority, and this funding approach puts us that much closer to seeing it become a reality,” said NJTPA Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan.
New Jersey has committed $500m and the Port Authority has approved up to $2bn for the tunnel. Raising $3.5bn overall is “significant” for a project that is only in its preliminary engineering phase, said Richard Sarles, executive director of NJ Transit.