NEW YORK -- New York and New Jersey have crossed a major bridge toward building the Gateway Hudson Tunnel.
Govs. Kathy Hochul and Phil Murphy signed a $14 billion funding agreement on Wednesday for the first phase of the project to build two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.
Both states will share the costs not covered by the federal government.
Those who ride Amtrak and NJ Transit know how frustrating it can be when there are issues with the current tunnels. The project is expected to increase capacity and speed up service.
"You see what you've got here -- thousands of people every couple of hours," NJ Transit rider and Amtrak employee Todd Emhoff told CBS2's Elijah Westbrook.
Emhoff is a maintenance worker for Amtrak and takes NJ Transit to his construction site on a daily basis.
"The two tunnels that they have are about 112 years old, and when one goes out, you only have one track to use," he explained. "It would be a great idea. It keeps a lot of guys working, and it would be better for emergencies."
According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the first phase will cost $2.7 billion. The federal government has agreed to pay 60 percent of it, which leaves New York and New Jersey to split the difference -- $772.4 million, or $386.2 million per state.
"I think it's great for commuters. I think it will be really beneficial and hopefully will make delays and issues less prevalent," said NJ Transit rider Esther Mordeler.
A report released in June by the Regional Plan Association said.
"We are establishing the framework to get this project over the finish line and are making good on our promise to modernize the state's transportation infrastructure," Gov. Hochul said in a statement.
Gov. Murphy said this "marks a pivotal milestone toward the completion of the most significant transportation project not just in New Jersey, but in the entire United States."
Approval of the first phase means construction could start as soon as next summer.
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