The official signing follows the White House’s decision last month to grant the US$6.88bn. The GDC now has the entire $16bn commitment needed to complete the HTP. It includes US$12bn in federal funding – the largest federal funding commitment to a rail project in modern history.

The $16bn cost will be split 70/30 between the federal government and the project’s local partners – New York, New Jersey, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The arrangement saves the local partners billions of dollars compared to the original plan to split the project costs 50/50.

“After many false starts and obstacles placed in our way, Gateway is full speed ahead with billions from FTA ready to go and be used for critical work and construction,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “Gateway’s future is assured and the most important public works project in America is all systems go.”

Securing the funding allows the GDC to progress heavy construction and tunnel boring. By the end of this year, GDC will have awarded contracts for more than US$5bn, including construction of the tunnel passing through the Palisades in New Jersey and through the Manhattan bulkhead under Hudson River Park, and the order for the first TBM.

In the coming weeks, heavy construction will begin on the Hudson River Ground Stabilisation Project, which will stabilise the riverbed on the Manhattan side of the Hudson River to enable the TBMs to excavate the new tunnel.

The HTP involves building the new 3.9km two-tube Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River, between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City’s Penn Station, and refurbishing Amtrak’s existing 112-year-old North River rail tunnel, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The new tunnel will be in service by 2035 and the full rehabilitation of the existing tunnel will be complete by 2038.

Construction started on both sides of the river in November last year and is expected to create 95,000 jobs and generate US$19.6bn in economic activity.

In New Jersey, the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation Project is building a new road bridge to allow for a connection to the new tunnel portal and an access point for TBMs. In Manhattan, work is under way on the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing Section 3 Project that will preserve a rail right-of-way to link the new Hudson Tunnel to New York Penn Station.