U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District-NJ, and Peter King, R-2nd District-NY, on Monday introduced a bipartisan bill demanding a contingency plan for a doomsday scenario if one, or both of the two North River Tunnels is shut down beneath the Hudson River.
The bill would require the Secretary of Transportation to publish a report within 60 days that details the Department’s contingency plan in the case of a track shutdown.
They also stressed the immediate need for the Gateway Tunnel.
The North River Tunnel tracks carry 200,000 travelers per day and are crumbling after damage from more than 100 years of use and flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Last week, the Regional Plan Association released “A Preventable Crisis,” a report outlining the catastrophic economic consequences of a tunnel being shut down.
The nonprofit Gateway Development Corp. is managing the estimated $20 billion bridge and tunnel infrastructure project. It features replacing both the 108-year-old Hudson River rail tunnels that connect New Jersey with Manhattan and replacing the 108-year-old Portal North Bridge in New Jersey.
“We are very grateful to Congressmen King and Gottheimer for the leadership, which they have extended during this process and also for the new legislation, which I have dubbed ‘Plan B,’ and to thank them also for the example they have set in demonstrating that bipartisan cooperation is alive and well,” Jerry Zaro, Chairman of GDC, said in a statement. “We have to believe that they must know something we don’t in Washington. Because otherwise, a responsible government could not leave this project unfunded.”