Cantwell’s Megaprojects Program Will Move Hudson Tunnel & 8 Other Major Projects Forward, Creating Jobs, Improving Supply Chain, Easing Commuters’ Lives

January 31, 2023

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment will create 72,000 good-paying Jobs in NY, NJ, thousands more across the nation

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, applauded the announcement by President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that 9 major transportation projects – including the Hudson Tunnel -- have been awarded a total $1.2 billion through the Cantwell-authored new Megaprojects Grant program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law authorized $5 billion in funding through 2026. 

“We're authorizing for the first time, megaprojects,” Sen. Cantwell said on the Senate Floor the day the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed the Senate.  “Megaprojects often take up so much of our budgets in our states, and federally, they never get funded, but that doesn't mean they aren't critical to the United States. In the Northeast Corridor, we certainly have megaprojects, and in the Pacific Northwest, we have megaprojects that will be critical like the Columbia River Crossing between Vancouver and Portland, or the Highway 2 Trestle in Everett. These projects deserve the attention of the nation, and with this first time authorization, will do so.”  

Sen. Cantwell created the new Megaprojects Grant Program to focus investment in highway, bridge, transit, passenger rail or freight transportation projects that are critical to our economy but are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. The need for this program was clear with over 100 projects applying for over $28 billion and outstanding needs like Chicago’s CREATE program and the I-5 Bridge Replacement Program between Oregon and Washington.

Sen. Cantwell identified Megaprojects as a top transportation priority during a Commerce Committee hearing in March 2021. The 5-year Megaprojects program passed the Commerce Committee as a part of her Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021, which became the foundation of the larger Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Nine national projects were funded in the first round by the Department of Transportation:

  1. $292 million for Hudson Yards Concrete Casing (New York, NY): This award will help fund the final section of concrete casing intended to preserve future right-of-way for the new Hudson River Tunnel and lay the groundwork for the much-anticipated Gateway Project. Once completed, the future Hudson Tunnel project will improve commute times, Amtrak reliability on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and support the NEC regional economy, which is home to 17% of the U.S. population. Amtrak expects the Hudson Tunnel project will result in 72,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs during construction with union partnerships for job training. 
  2. $250 million for Brent Spence Bridge improvements (Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY): This critical freight corridor over the Ohio River sees over $400 billion in freight movement annually. It is among the worst truck bottlenecks in the nation. This Mega award will support critical improvements to the Brent Spence Bridge and fund the construction of a new bridge alongside the existing bridge to relieve congestion and improve travel time reliability – supporting the regional economy. The project received an additional $1.385 billion for the Bridge Investment Program, making the total federal investment to $1.6 billion of the $2.7 billion in total project costs.
  3. $150 million for the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge (Calcasieu Parish, LA): The existing bridge, constructed before the Interstate Highway System, is structurally and functionally deficient, resulting in significant freight bottlenecks. The new bridge will relieve congestion and improve regional mobility, supply chain efficiency, and safety.
  4. $117 million for Metra North Rebuild (Chicago, IL): The funding will replace approximately 11 bridges, 4 miles of track structure, and more than 1.75 miles of retaining walls on Metra’s system (Chicago’s commuter rail system). Metra estimates that the project will reduce passenger delay by 38 million hours over the next 30 years
  5. $110 million for North Carolina’s Alligator River Bridge (Dare and Tyrrell Counties, NC): The existing bridge, a machinery-driven movable swing bridge is a critical hurricane evacuation route and is in a deteriorated condition, which causes costly delays for travelers. This award will support construction of a modern high-rise fixed-span bridge that will improve travel times and safety, for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, along a primary east-west route in northeastern North Carolina between I-95 and the Outer Banks.
  6. $78 million for the Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project (Philadelphia, PA): Roosevelt Boulevard currently has one of the highest crash rates in Philadelphia, accounting for 14% of all crash-related fatalities in the city. This project will make improvements along approximately 12 miles of the Boulevard to improve safety and accessibility for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists.
  7. $60 million for the I-10 Freight Corridor (Diamondhead, MS): The funding will widen I-10 from four to six lanes from just west of Diamondhead. This project will strengthen access to locations across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and major southern cities, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston and Mobile. Additionally, the project will promote future economic growth, including freight industries that also support international trade, and vitality in the region.  
  8. $60 million for the I-10 Freight Corridor (Diamondhead, MI): The funding will widen I-10 from four to six lanes from just west of Diamondhead to just east of County Farm Road.
  9. $30 million for Watsonville-Cruz Multimodal Corridor Program (Santa Cruz, CA): The funding will create an auxiliary lane and bus on shoulder access on State Route 1; new bicycle and pedestrian overcrossings as part of the New Coastal Rail Trail within the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line. The applicant will also purchase four new Zero-Emission Buses.