| NEWARK, N.J., June 1
NEWARK, N.J., June 1 The board overseeing the
construction of a new train tunnel under New York's Hudson River
agreed on Thursday to solicit information from private-sector
construction and finance firms about how to complete the
The tunnel, part of national rail company Amtrak's $24
billion Gateway Program, could potentially use a public-private
partnership (P3) model to build and finance portions of the
project, John Porcari, interim director of the Gateway Program
Development Corporation, told board trustees.
"We're really looking for the best ideas from around the
world," he said. Requesting information from private companies
is different than actually requesting bids, which would come
Private firms have been "consistently... reaching out
throughout the gestation of this whole project" and "there's a
very high level of interest," he told reporters after the
The project is moving ahead as pressure mounts on the
region's overburdened transportation system.
This summer, Amtrak plans to replace tracks and switches in
its existing century-old tunnel into New York's Pennsylvania
Station, the site of recent derailments and the source of misery
for tens of thousands of commuters.
In a slide show, Porcari described the need for a new tunnel
in the corporation's starkest terms yet, saying there could be
"colossal impacts" that cascade nationwide without one.
But there is uncertainty about whether Gateway will
ultimately get all the federal funding it needs under the Trump
Meanwhile, the corporation still lacks a permanent director
and some internal governance structures, including a procurement
Former Port Authority vice-chairman Scott Rechler said in a
recent interview that big projects sometimes do not do all the
preparatory work necessary if they do not know where all their
money will come from.
However, without those things in place, it is harder to get
the money, he said.
"Gateway is a little bit in that mode right now," he said.
"Even hiring a permanent director. It's hard to fill the job if
you don't know where the source of funds is coming from."
Richard Bagger, who represents New Jersey on the
corporation's board, said a search committee is meeting weekly
with a professional search firm.
"We expect the search to be progressing actively over the
summer and are hoping to conclude by September," he told
Trustees also voted on Thursday to look for an outside law
firm to lay out a procurement process and finish other
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Daniel Bases)