NEW YORK CITY - Lawmakers submitted a progress report Friday for the massive Gateway Project that is aiming to revamp railroad connections between New Jersey and New York City.

The report announced that the project was put on a federal fast track for environmental permitting and reviews, which senators say could save a year of time and billions of dollars.

The main goals of the Gateway Project are build a new rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River and improve the Portal Bridge in Newark.

The announcement tabbed approval and construction on the bridge to begin in 2018, while the tunnel could see construction beginning in 2019, though the first phase of the plan, concrete casing, has already begun.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stated the need for these improvements, saying, "The damage done by Hurricane Sandy made the tunnel worse. If either of these tunnels fail, rail service from New Jersey to New York would effectively shut down."

The plans now hinge on both New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but officials have said they are both on board.