Gateway Program Development Corp. trustees Jerry Zaro, Tony Coscia and Steven Cohen support a proposal by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to enable individual states to move forward with construction on projects in the pipeline for federal funding with knowledge that they will be reimbursed.
The Portal North Bridge spans the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny and swings open to allow ships to pass through. It often becomes stuck in the open position, halting trains from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts. Amtrak employees use sledgehammers to manually return the bridge into place so trains can cross.
Supporters of Gateway want to eliminate this single point of failure by creating redundancy. A point of focus is the extent to which Congress will allocate its share of federal funding.
“The legislation proposed today by Sen. Schumer would go a long way toward breaking the log jam in Washington over the critically-important Gateway Program projects,” Zaro, Coscia and Cohen said in a statement. “We appreciate his ongoing leadership and the commitment of our state and local partners in keeping Gateway moving forward, no matter what. As the recent RPA report showed, the stakes are far too high to allow politics to further delay the start of major construction.”
“We look forward to meeting with the Senate delegations of New York and New Jersey next week to discuss this and other aspects of the Gateway Program,” the statement added.
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. More than 200,000 commuters travel by New Jersey Transit and Amtrak through these tunnels each day.
“The Gateway Program is critically important to the hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who rely on the Cross-Hudson crossings and any disruption would cripple our regional and national economies,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Monday. “The political gridlock preventing its Federal approval is unacceptable. New Jersey has acted as a willing partner throughout the process, and stands ready to provide $600 million in state funding to replace the Portal Bridge.”
“We are all acutely aware of the risks associated with a failure to complete these projects, and I will continue to call on the Trump Administration to join with us as true partners to prevent a needless catastrophe,” Murphy stated.