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It Takes More Than A MOU To Pay For $33 Billion Gateway Tunnel

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Dear Editor:

There is more to do after Governors Murphy and Hochul Sign A MOU for funding the $33 billion Gateway Project before the Federal Transit Administration will enter into negotiations with the project sponsor to approve a $14 billion Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA). This would pay for two new tunnels plus rehabilitation of the existing tunnels damaged by Super Storm Sandy. Who will oversee engineering, contractors and procurement? Will it be the Gateway Development Corporation, NJ Transit, Amtrak or the Port Authority?

To win a FTA FFGA, any project needs documentation that the billions in matching local share is secured, along with an approved Project Management Plan (technical capacity), Quality Assurance and Quality Control Plan (monitors that the contractor builds to the design and engineering specifications), Fleet Management Plan, Annual Force Account (Amtrak and NJ Transit employees who work with and provide support to third party contractors) and Annual Track Outage Plan. Also needed is approval for Title VI, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) programs.

All must be reviewed and approved by FTA to insure that this record investment is completed on time, within budget, built to the design and engineering specifications so that it will remain in beneficial use for the promised intended life.

Is the GDC, Amtrak, NJ Transit, Governors Murphy and Hochul prepared to pay for the unanticipated inevitable cost overruns? There is also contract change orders due to unforseen site conditions and last minute scope changes. How much money is budgeted under project contingency to pay for these costs?

Have they updated the overall project budget to account for this years 8% inflation rate? What about ongoing supply chain issues, rising material costs and labor shortages especially in special trades such as tunnel boring needed for this project. Has this been incorporated into the latest proposed budget and schedule?

Sincerely,

Larry Penner
Retired
Former Director
Federal Transit Administration
NY Region
Office of Operations and Program Management

 

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