• Gateway clears it's last Federal approval

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Tom V
 
All approvals have been received, all that is needed now is to change the project's rating from the FTA. That will allow the partners, NJ, NY, Port Authority, Amtrak to enter into a financing agreement with the Federal Government. Construction is slated to start Summer of 2023.

https://www.nj.com/news/2021/12/hudson- ... ng-it.html
  by Greg Moore
 
Good news, but frustrating projects like this take so long, even once approved.
  by amtrakowitz
 
How many of us here will be in our graves by the time this opens, even presuming on schedule?

Only took the PRR two years to build the original tunnels under the Hudson River. Even in spite of technological advances in tunneling, federal governmental bureaucratic morass (which should have no role in the total process of passenger rail infrastructure) turns a project that should have been built and opened at least twenty years ago into a travesty.
  by jp1822
 
So new tunnel - two tubes will take 8 years to build starting in summer 2023.........

The existing tunnels - two tubes built by the PRR within 2 years back in 1910..........

That's called progress right?

Lets just hope this time the tunnel construction stays on track and gets built!
  by kitchin
 
Gov. Christie cancelled it within that twenty year period and redirected the state funds to highways in New Jersey. He had legitimate reasons, but it was also a blatant play to his car-driving constituency and his Sopranos-inspired image as a buster. He's not the only politician of his generation to take his cues from movies and TV. Real fixers get things done, but Christie's career later got waylaid with a petty vendetta against a Democratic mayor at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. That was a long fall from selling out federal prosecutors' use of civil suits to appointed corporate law firms at the height of his career before becoming governor. The New York governor was no peach either.

The federal bureaucracy adds costs, but the EIS process is pretty standard at this point. Tunneling costs are the wild card in US infrastructure, compared to other countries. Surprisingly, Miami did a good job with the port tunnel in 2011-2014. There's a $3.8b twin underwater road tunnel under construction in Hampton-Norfolk with lots of friendly P.R. about children naming the boring machine, etc. The P.R. out of Gateway will meet massive cynicism by contrast, some of it deserved.
  by electricron
 
Tom V wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:43 pm All approvals have been received, all that is needed now is to change the project's rating from the FTA. That will allow the partners, NJ, NY, Port Authority, Amtrak to enter into a financing agreement with the Federal Government. Construction is slated to start Summer of 2023.

https://www.nj.com/news/2021/12/hudson- ... ng-it.html
From your link:
"But funding remains the next major hurdle. The project’s ranking needs to be raised by the Federal Transit Administration to qualify for federal grants. The tunnel project had received a low rating under the Trump administration that precluded it from qualifying for federal funding.
Railroad and other infrastructure loans that would comprise New Jersey and New York’s share of the project also need to be applied for and approved.
The states received a boost from recent changes to those programs that allow the loans to be paid off over 75 years, considering the lifespan of major railroad infrastructure projects, instead of an original 35-year payback period.
A “letter of interest” to start the loan application process for an estimated $6 billion in infrastructure loans is being prepared and could be submitted in the next couple of months,"

If an existing program will not support a particular project, change the regulations. 75 years of interest payments vs 35 years, and some wonder why NY/NJ projects always cost twice as much?
Why did the FTA rank this project so low under Trump? A medium-low rating makes it ineligible for Federal funding. That was not answered by this press release.

But from
https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/in ... ow-rating/

"New Jersey and New York both intend to rely on long-term federal loans to fund 50% of the project, which AP reports would be between $6 billion and $7 billion. The states would expect the federal government to finance the other half of the costs with grants.
According to AP, USDOT believes the states are asking for too much federal funding, and on March 15 said that the most recent financial plan proposed by project organizers did not address the key concerns identified by FTA in last’s year rating.”

It has a medium-low rating because 100% of the required funding was coming from Federal funding, 50% from Federal Grants and 50% from Federal backed low interest loans. NY and NJ had 0% of their own money invested into the Gateway Tunnels. Every other transit project financed by the FTA qualifies using one of either funding mechanism, but not both. Only the Gateway Tunnels expects to use both, which is why its rating is so low.

Put more of your own skin into the project and maybe the FTA will up its rating. :wink:
For those who might suggest the low rating was politically motivated, why has not NY/NJ sued the FTA over it? Both Trump and Biden have been sued over far less money. Maybe, just maybe, that low FTA rating was justified under the present regulations. Of course, we now have a new administration and a new Congress, regulations can be changed to meet the new political situation. But should they? What is so wrong expecting local governments to share in the financial burdens of infrastructure projects?
Last edited by electricron on Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Tom V
 
Who do you think is paying the loans? Yes the Feds provide the loan but the States of NY, NJ and the Port Authority are paying the loans. These aren’t grants, they are loans.

New Jersey in particular pays the most in Federal taxes yet receives the least amount of Federal aide. I don’t see the issue of New Jersey using a Federal loan to pay for their share, it’s a loan they will pay (not a grant). New Jersey is dead last in terms of being dependent on Federal aide, eight out of the ten the states most dependent on Federal aide are red states. I didn’t see Trump holding their projects hostage.

https://www.moneygeek.com/living/state ... overnment/


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Last edited by nomis on Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: removed immediate quote
  by electricron
 
All true. Loans are not the same as grants, until the loans fall into arrears.
As for dependency, your link explains why.
But a correlation between states' economic health and political affiliation may reflect economic factors beyond those explained by political philosophy.
"If red states pay less in taxes than they receive in benefits, that's because they are generally poorer and program rules are progressive — not because they are 'takers' while blue states are 'donors' in any value-laden sense," says Mark Shepard, assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

You set up programs to fund people's needs progressively, favoring the poor in general, do not be surprised that states with more poor people get more funding per capita. It is not a red vs blue state politics, it is a poor vs rich state economics.
Last edited by nomis on Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: removed immediate quote
  by amtrakowitz
 
kitchin wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 7:19 am Gov. Christie cancelled it within that twenty year period and redirected the state funds to highways in New Jersey. He had legitimate reasons, but it was also a blatant play to his car-driving constituency and his Sopranos-inspired image as a buster. He's not the only politician of his generation to take his cues from movies and TV. Real fixers get things done, but Christie's career later got waylaid with a petty vendetta against a Democratic mayor at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. That was a long fall from selling out federal prosecutors' use of civil suits to appointed corporate law firms at the height of his career before becoming governor. The New York governor was no peach either.
THE Tunnel is not the same thig as this project, which is an Amtrak project and not a George Warrington-inspired dead-end limited-utility potentially ecological disaster foisted on NJ Transit and seemingly rammed through.
The federal bureaucracy adds costs, but the EIS process is pretty standard at this point. Tunneling costs are the wild card in US infrastructure, compared to other countries. Surprisingly, Miami did a good job with the port tunnel in 2011-2014. There's a $3.8b twin underwater road tunnel under construction in Hampton-Norfolk with lots of friendly P.R. about children naming the boring machine, etc. The P.R. out of Gateway will meet massive cynicism by contrast, some of it deserved.
Adds costs? Yes, I would say that more than tripling over the cost estimates over the Access to the Region's Core alternatives is adding costs, but that term is soft-peddling the outrageous scope thereof. Never mind the costs related to the massive time delays inherent in centralized bureaucracy.
  by Tom V
 
Project partners report 50 percent of the total project construction costs will come from local funding commitments, which now sit at $6.1 billion – an increase of $552 million. The FY2022 Enacted Capital Program and Financing Plan from the state of New York includes sufficient funds to make all payments on a RRIF loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority will make payments to the Gateway Development Commission to meet required payments under a RRIF loan.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has committed up to $2.7 billion to support the Hudson River Tunnel Project and Amtrak has increased its funding commitment to the project to $1.374 billion – an increase of $92 million from the 2020 financial plan.
https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/inf ... p-with-fta
  by Tom V
 
jp1822 wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 6:14 am So new tunnel - two tubes will take 8 years to build starting in summer 2023.........

The existing tunnels - two tubes built by the PRR within 2 years back in 1910..........

That's called progress right?

Lets just hope this time the tunnel construction stays on track and gets built!
Seven years for the new tunnels, after that 3 years to rehabilitate the existing tunnels.
  by Hawaiitiki
 
jp1822 wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 6:14 am
So new tunnel - two tubes will take 8 years to build starting in summer 2023.........
The existing tunnels - two tubes built by the PRR within 2 years back in 1910..........
That's called progress right?
A whole bunch of people definitely died building the 1910 Tunnels, either directly or later indirectly. So safety is part of it. Also, we're talking about what is now some of the most expensive real estate on planet earth being involved.

And sad to say a project requiring collaboration in NY/NJ's "Everybodys gotta get theirs", whether over or under the table, labor and political environment, 8 years honestly sounds reasonable. I can only think of Italy or wealthier cities in South America than can compare to our level of the money being there, but anything meaningful still takes a decade (or decades) to get built.
  by Ken W2KB
 
amtrakowitz wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 4:21 am How many of us here will be in our graves by the time this opens, even presuming on schedule?

Only took the PRR two years to build the original tunnels under the Hudson River. Even in spite of technological advances in tunneling, federal governmental bureaucratic morass (which should have no role in the total process of passenger rail infrastructure) turns a project that should have been built and opened at least twenty years ago into a travesty.
Perhaps to avoid a repeat of this: "A Manhattan coroner estimated that at least 50 sandhogs died in the first five months of 1906 in the construction of Pennsylvania Railroad tunnels."
  by west point
 
Where was it that some Middle East country bored a tunnel twice as fast as had ever been done before? That tunnel bore was longer as I recall?

What will happen to construction speed if one or both North River bores fail? Will the various contracts for this construction have some early completion clauses?