NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators announced a key approval Thursday for a planned $10 billion train tunnel under the Hudson River, marking another milestone for a long-delayed project that is the centerpiece of an effort to transform rail travel in the Northeast.
The Federal Transit Administration said it had upgraded the tunnel project’s rating to medium-high, making it eligible to receive federal grants.
The widely anticipated move came after years of lower ratings by the FTA during the Trump administration, which had clashed with New York and New Jersey over how much money the states had committed to pay to build the tunnel.
Under an understanding reached during the administration of former President Barack Obama, the states had agreed to split half the cost of the tunnel, using federal loans to be paid back over decades, with federal grants accounting for the other half.
Under former President Donald Trump, the FTA said states weren’t allowed to use federal loans as part of their funding match to get the federal grants. That policy was rescinded by the administration of current President Joe Biden.
Funding for the tunnel will come out of money earmarked for rail projects in the recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure bill.