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China unveils country's record-breaking high-speed rail tunnel — here's one ongoing US project trying to mimic its success

In December 2023, the Biden administration announced an enormous $8 billion grant toward funding for high-speed rail projects.

In December 2023, the Biden administration announced an enormous $8 billion grant toward funding for high-speed rail projects.

Photo Credit: Hudson Tunnel Project

China's longest double-track, single-bore train tunnel is complete, and high-speed trains traveling up to 125 miles per hour are slated to begin running through it later this year.

It's a major milestone, and yet it's just one of many. China boasts 30 such projects, which comprise eight high-speed rail lines and over 500 miles of railway. 

By comparison, the similarly sized U.S. has zero trains or tunnels that could rival these projects in size, scope, speed, or scale.

However, the Biden administration hopes that will soon change. In December 2023, they announced an enormous $8 billion grant to fund high-speed rail projects, which they called "the first world-class, high-speed rail projects in our country's history."

One of those projects is the Hudson Tunnel Project. The project will increase service between New Jersey and New York City, with trains running up to 100 mph in a rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River. It's scheduled to begin construction in 2024, and it's already received $12 billion of the projected $16 billion of its anticipated costs.

In addition to contributing to the bustling Northeast Corridor of train travel, the project will also rehabilitate an existing tunnel that had been badly damaged in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy. 

According to the project's website: "Service reliability throughout the tunnel has been compromised because of the damage to tunnel components caused by Superstorm Sandy, which inundated both tubes in the North River Tunnel with seawater. … While the tunnel was restored to service and is now safe for travel, chlorides from the seawater remain in the tunnel's concrete liner and bench walls, causing ongoing damage to various tunnel components and systems."

The Hudson Tunnel is projected to open in 2035. A spokesperson told Newsweek: "[The project] is a generational investment that is expected to [create] 95,000 new jobs and generate nearly $20 billion in economic activity over its construction period."

The Hudson Tunnel Project is one of several so-called "megaprojects" that are ramping up this year. There is also a sustainable battery manufacturing plant in Kentucky, multiple hydrogen hubs and a high-speed railway between Las Vegas and southern California.

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