The Build Gateway Now Coalition is asking for federal action to approve federal money to replace the Hudson River railroad tunnels that connect New Jersey with New York City.
Build Gateway Now is comprised of more than 40 civic, labor, business and elected groups who know Gateway is a critical priority for the region and the nation’s economy. The nonprofit Gateway Development Corp. is leading the $14.3 billion-plus infrastructure project to replace the 110-year-old rail tunnels and the 110-year-old Portal Bridge, which spans the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny.
The Build Gateway Now Coalition says that the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration missed its self-imposed deadline to issue a Record of Decision on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Hudson Tunnel Project, causing costly delays for 21 months and counting.
Beginning in 2020, each additional day that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the U.S. DOT delays reaching a decision on the Hudson Tunnel’s EIS increases the cost of the project by $1.2 million, according to the updated financial plan submitted by the Gateway Development Corp. and its partners in August 2019, according to the Build Gateway Now Coalition.
“Every year that passes brings us closer to an economic and human catastrophe,” Build Gateway Now Campaign Manager Brian Fritsch said. “To avoid it, pre-construction work on the Hudson River Tunnel project must start immediately. Yet that can’t happen unless Secretary Chao and the USDOT start doing their jobs and issue a Record of Decision on the Environmental Impact Statement. As the current administration in Washington hypocritically sits on their hands and fails to move this project forward the livelihoods of thousands of Americans, as well as a large segment of the national economy, are clearly at risk. We are far past time for the types of political games that are being played with the Gateway Program.”
The U.S. Senate approved legislation on Dec. 19, 2019 that includes $700 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget toward the replacement of Hudson River railroad tunnels that connect New Jersey and Manhattan.
During 2020, Gateway Development Corp. trustees will focus on a number of areas to move the projects toward full construction. Key among these are the Federal DOT issuing a positive Record of Decision on the Hudson Tunnel Environmental Impact Statement, and providing improved ratings for grant applications submitted for the Portal Bridge and Hudson Tunnel Projects.