The federal government again gave a “medium-low” rating to a proposed trans-Hudson River tunnel and Portal Bridge replacement, a move which makes the project ineligible for the federal funding sought after by proponents of them.
The Federal Transit Administration, in its Friday decision, cited the lack of a local funding commitment for both projects, despite $600 million New Jersey put on the table to finance the $1.5 billion replacement of the century-old bridge in Kearny.
In addition, New Jersey and New York officials have pledged a combined $5 billion of the roughly $12 billion price tag to replace the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River, which is over a century old and sustained heavy damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“We are extremely disappointed that the U.S. Department of Transportation continuously fails to recognize the urgency around the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Tunnel Projects, and the commitment and ongoing work by the local partners to get them done,” Jerry Zaro, chair of the Gateway Development Corp., which oversees the Gateway project, said Friday in a statement.
The Friday move comes days after U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen, according to a report from NJ.com, said there would be no federal dollars on neither the tunnel nor bridge because such projects are “local responsibilities,” even though they are both owned by Amtrak, a federal agency.
“These ratings are, sadly, the latest example of how the Trump administration is playing politics with these critical infrastructure projects, which is threatening the safety of passengers from New Jersey and the economic vitality of the entire Northeast region,” New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, said Friday in a statement.