The Biden Administration in the US has earmarked $292m to carry out a critical early phase of the long-delayed Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project, a tunnel to connect New Jersey and New York by train under the Hudson River.

This allocation forms part of the government’s nearly $1.2bn from the infrastructure law’s new National Infrastructure Project Assistance discretionary grant programme (Mega), which will fund a total of nine projects across the country.

The $16bn Hudson Tunnel Project involves rehabilitation of the existing tunnel under the Hudson River that is aimed at enhancing resilience and reliability for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and Amtrak train service between New York and New Jersey.

It also includes the construction of a new tunnel and associated railroad infrastructure to carry passenger rail trains while the existing tunnel is being repaired.

The $292m Mega grant to Amtrak will support the construction of Hudson Yards Concrete Casing, Section 3.

The latest funding forms part of a $649m early phase project, which aims to complete the final section of concrete casing to safeguard future right-of-way for the new passenger rail tunnel.

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In a press statement, the White House said: “The concrete casing protects the path of the new tunnel from Penn Station to the Hudson River’s edge. If this casing were not built now, the foundations from the new Hudson Yards development would likely impede the path of the tunnel and make the project extremely difficult.”

Amtrak expects the Hudson Tunnel Project to create 72,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

Some of the other projects that will receive the Mega grant include $250m for the Brent Spence Bridge linking Kentucky and Ohio; and $150m to the Louisiana Department of Transportation for the Calcasieu River Bridge Replacement, among others.

Besides, $117m has been granted to the Metra Commuter Railroad in Illinois to carry out upgrades to the Metra Union Pacific-North line on a two-mile corridor from the Addison to Fullerton rail bridges.