Govs. Christie, Cuomo commit to their financial share of Gateway Tunnel project
07:45, Dec 16, 2017
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NY and New Jersey officials are renewing their push to get the federal government to make good on its commitment to pay for half of the $12.7 billion Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project after announcing that all the state and local money is now lined up.
The federal government was to pay for the other half under an agreement negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but President Donald Trump hasn't made the same commitment.
NY will fund $1.75 billion while New Jersey Transit will add $1.9 billion to the $1.9 billion already committed by the board of commissioners of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey for a total of $5.55 billion.
"The commitments we make today mark a pivotal milestone in the construction of the Hudson River Tunnel Project, and builds on the work we began earlier this year with the early construction of the Portal North Bridge Project", said New Jersey governor Chris Christie "It positions the project to immediately compete for federal Capital Investment Grant funds". NJ Transit riders will see the most personal impact. It is seen as essential to alleviating worsening congestion and delays in the NY region and on the Boston-to-Washington corridor.
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Further compounding the issue is the lack of redundant capability across the Hudson River into Penn Station New York, resulting in a single point-of-failure.
"[The] submission on file proposes the federal government pay 85 percent of the project costs, for a tunnel where nine out of 10 passengers are local transit riders", the official said. "Now the federal government must fulfill its commitment to fund the other half and make this urgent, long-overdue project a reality". "Gov. Christie can't undo the damage of cancelling ARC now, but we should find a fairer way to fund Gateway construction that doesn't ask daily commuters to pay for every penny of New Jersey's contribution to the Gateway project".
"Under Gov. Christie, New Jersey has consistently been the last one to the table, both on Gateway and its predecessor, Access to the Region's Core", said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, citing the commuter rail project Christie killed in 2010.
NY won't hit up its riders for the money, instead using a Federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement loan that NY would repay over 35 years. The Hudson Tunnel Project is critical to the regional and national economy and protects against a potentially disastrous scenario of a closure of one of the two tubes of the existing North River Tunnel.
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