On Monday, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff announced that his agency will make a “down payment” toward an eventual commitment of $3 billion by approving a $1.35 billion Early Systems Work Agreement (ESWA) to immediately commence work on the Access to the Region’s Core.
The agreement includes $650 million in federal funds, including funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, matched by an equal amount of local funding.
“This project has been talked about for decades. Because of New Jersey’s leadership and President Obama’s recovery agenda, today the talk stops and the construction begins,” Rogoff said. “The Obama Administration is committed to being a full partner in this historic investment. It will put thousands of people to work. It will improve the lives of many thousands more by shortening their commute.”
Rogoff said that the administration intends to enter into a full funding grant agreement to provide $3.0 billion in discretionary FTA New Starts funds for the $8.7 billion project. The nine-mile commuter rail extension will consist of two new tunnels under the Hudson River, new rail tracks between Secaucus Junction and New York’s Penn Station, and a new rail station underneath 34th Street in midtown Manhattan.
The project will allow NJ Transit to double rail service capacity into Manhattan, free up capacity for Amtrak, and reduce travel times and crowding on trains and at Penn Station.
The ESWA will help NJ Transit meet key milestones and keep the project on schedule and within budget by allowing the immediate use of federal and local funds for tunneling and related construction work.