Biden Budget directs $1.2 billion to major transit projects in New York

President Biden’s budget, released Thursday, provides about $1.2 billion for two of New York City’s largest transit projects: the expansion of the Second Avenue Subway and new railroad tunnels under the Hudson River.

Because the funds were already allocated in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed in 2021, it doesn’t require additional congressional approval, said Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader. Mr. Biden’s full budget bill, his first released under a divided Congress, will be the subject of lengthy negotiations in the House and Senate with little chance of becoming law.

The amount is a fraction of what the projects are expected to cost in total, but it will allow for more design and planning work, Mr. Schumer said in an interview. The allocation also demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to completing the projects, he said.

“The bureaucracy is gone and these projects are going full steam ahead,” Mr. Schumer said.

Nearly $500 million is slated for the proposed Second Avenue Subway extension to East Harlem, a project estimated to cost $6.3 billion. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, is asking the federal government to cover about $3.4 billion of the total, said Nuria Fernandez, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

The first phase of this subway line, which opened in 2017, took about 10 years to build and cost $4.4 billion. It was one of the world’s most expensive transit projects per mile.

Mr. Schumer said the MTA could begin disbursing the federal funds soon once a funding agreement has been reached with the Federal Transit Administration.

The budget proposal also includes $700 million to build two single-track railroad tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station, Mr. Schumer said. Known as Gateway, this project has been in the planning stages for more than 12 years.

Progress at Gateway stalled during the Trump administration but has picked up momentum under Mr. Biden. The infrastructure bill included enough money to cover half of the estimated $16 billion cost of the Gateway tunnels, Mr. Schumer said.

The $700 million allocation for Gateway in the President’s proposed budget is part of that federal funding. Last month, Mr. Biden appeared at a Manhattan rail yard to announce that the first installment, $292 million, would be used to build a concrete lining for the tunnels under Midtown streets.

Combined, these amounts account for less than 15 percent of the $8 billion that Washington’s Gateway sponsors hope to raise for the tunnels. The remaining costs would be borne by the states of New York and New Jersey and the Port Authority of New York and Jersey.

The Gateway money is yet to be spent because the sponsors have yet to have a signed agreement with the Federal Department of Transportation for all federal funding requested. Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation, briefed reporters on the budget Thursday afternoon.

Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Gateway program, said it will continue to work with the Biden administration and Congress to “maintain the project’s significant momentum and ensure that the tunnel will create tens of thousands of good jobs, billions in economic activity and real benefits for people.” the life of the people.”


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