There’s a light at the end of this tunnel.
The newly passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill means New York and New Jersey will soon have a new connection under the Hudson River.
The massive bill gives an $8 billion boost to the long-stalled Gateway Project, which includes the new tunnel, as well as repairs to existing tubes ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“This rail tunnel is like the aorta,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told The Post Sunday. “It’s the vital link that connects one side of the Hudson to another and connects Boston to Washington.”
The package — known as BIF, or Bipartisan Infrastructure Frame — includes $66 billion for Amtrak, pending approval from the Biden administration, Schumer said.
In addition to the $8 billion earmarked for Gateway in the Capital Investment Grants program, the bill also includes $30 billion in funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which stretches from Washington, DC to Boston, Schumer said.
“The BIF bill is very good news for Gateway,” Schumer told The Post on Sunday. “There’s more than enough funding here to fund Gateway. This will get it off to a very strong start.
“I’ve talked to [Department of Transportation] Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg, he’s all on board. I’ve talked to the president and he’s on board,” the senator added about BIF money being used toward Gateway.
Construction on the new tunnel is expected to start in August 2023, according to officials at the bi-state Gateway Development Corporation.
But work has already begun on adjacent projects on the New Jersey and Manhattan sides.
The influx of money will also go toward repairs on existing tunnels severely damaged by Sandy in 2012.
“It’s so important,” Schumer explained. “We have two tunnels that go under the Hudson. If they cannot be used safely, the economy would come to a halt.”
Federal DOT officials approved Gateway’s environmental review in May after years of delays by the Trump administration. All that’s left to fully fund the project is the federal government assigning the project an upgraded rating to make it eligible for BIF money.
Trump’s DOT “didn’t rate it high enough to receive funding,” explained Brian Fritsch of the Regional Plan Association.
With BIF funding, Fritsch said, “There’s just more funding available for projects like the tunnel, so everything can move a little quicker than it might have otherwise.”
Gateway Development Corporation spokesman Stephen Sigmund said the organization has “been working very closely with the FTA under this administration to do the things we need to do to improve the rating.”
“We submitted a financial plan at the end of August in order to improve the rating the Trump administration had kept low,” Sigmund said. “That rating has to improve in order for us to move to the next step.”
New York received a whopping $100 million from the infrastructure bill.
The package passed the House of Representatives late Friday by a vote of 228 to 206 with the help of four New York Republicans — Andrew Garbarino, John Katko, Nicole Malliotakis and Tom Reed.
Far-left New York Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both voted against the deal.
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