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Gateway Development Commission Appointments Announced

Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the individuals they have selected to represent New York and New Jersey on the Gateway Development Commission, which will oversee construction of the new Hudson Tunnel Project. Governor Murphy will nominate Janine G. Bauer and Balpreet Grewal Virk, who upon confirmation from the New Jersey Senate, will collectively serve as New Jersey’s representatives along with Jerry Zaro, the current chairman of the Gateway Program Development Corporation. New York’s appointees to the Commission are New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, Thruway Authority Project Director Jamey Barbas, and former Secretary to the Governor Steven M. Cohen.

“By signing legislation creating the Gateway Development Commission and nominating commissioners from both New Jersey and New York, Governor Cuomo and I are renewing our commitment to moving the Hudson Tunnel Project forward,” said Governor Murphy. “The commissioners we have chosen today represent a group of talented individuals of the highest integrity and professionalism who will provide meaningful oversight and accountability over this project of national importance. I look forward to working with our partners in New York to fully constitute the Board of the Gateway Development Commission so we can advance the important work of ensuring the safe and efficient mobility of our region’s residents and commuters.”

“Gateway is the single most important infrastructure project not only for this region but for the entire nation, and it will require the input of seasoned professionals who know what it takes to deliver major, multifaceted projects,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m confident these three talented and dedicated individuals will do an exceptional job representing New York in this critical undertaking.”

The Gateway Development Commission consists of seven members in total: three to represent New York, three for New Jersey, and one for Amtrak. The members from each of the States will report to Governor Cuomo and Governor Phil Murphy on the progress of the Gateway Program. The New York and New Jersey members’ bios are below.

New Jersey Members

Janine G. Bauer is partner at Szaferman Lakind and has successfully represented clients in environmental matters for some 30 years, including tasks like which path to take in a site clean-up, representation in a lawsuit, or insurance coverage. She reviews purchase and sale agreements in real estate matters, achieves compliance with state regulations, and provides oversight of remediation funds. Bauer cuts through complex problems to find cost-effective solutions that achieve the client’s objectives. She is a strategic and experienced trial lawyer, and a former lead prosecutor. In 2003, Bauer also started a transportation and infrastructure practice to help businesses that are involved in transportation achieve their business goals. She will sort through the maze of transportation, land use and environmental laws to obtain approvals, bring or defend lawsuits and challenge fees or fines. Bauer also practices land use, zoning, redevelopment and historic preservation law. She is also a registered legislative agent in New Jersey, and lobbies in the tri-state area capitals. She also advises municipalities and other public entities on transportation matters to reduce tort liability and increase safety, specifically promoting Complete Streets as a way to improve mobility for senior citizens, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Balpreet Grewal Virk, PhD, is director of community engagement in the Department of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. Grewal Virk provides leadership and oversight to system-wide community health initiatives in her role at Hackensack University Hospital. She was born and raised in a diverse community in Bergen County. Both of her parents migrated from Punjab, India. Grewal Virk graduated from Seton Hall University, majoring in criminal justice, and went on to earn her Master’s in corporate and organizational culture, an MBA with a focus on marketing, and a PhD in health and medical sciences. She is also active on the political circuit and has been involved in multiple campaigns including those for Senator Cory Booker, Senator Robert Menendez, and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Grewal-Virk and her husband, Yoginder, have two young children.

Jerry Zaro is a member at Sills Cummis & Gross, where he is chair of the Banking and Real Estate Services Department, focusing his practice on banking and finance, real estate, corporate and government relations matters. He began his law career as a judicial secretary to the Honorable Thomas F. Shebell, Jr. in the Superior Court of Monmouth County. Prior to joining Sills Cummis & Gross, Zaro was the president and managing partner of Ansell Zaro Grimm and Aaron for 25 years and served as the chair of the Commercial Real Estate and Finance & Banking departments. Zaro has served in a variety of leadership posts in the administrations of the last eight consecutive Governors of New Jersey—five Democrats and three Republicans.  Zaro served as commissioner of the New Jersey Highway Authority, chairman of the New Jersey Highway Authority, Commissioner of the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority and as the chief of the Office of Economic Growth for the State of New Jersey, a cabinet level position in the administrations of Gov. Jon Corzine and Gov. Chris Christie.  During his tenure as New Jersey’s “Economic Czar,” Zaro made multiple significant strides in promoting and improving the business environment in the State utilizing incentives offered by New Jersey.  In this capacity, he had a hand in bringing thousands of jobs to the State.

New York Members

Marie Therese Dominguez serves as the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. She has worked in the transportation, water and energy infrastructure, safety, and logistics sectors for over 20 years, having served in numerous leadership positions within the Federal government, most recently in 2015 when President Obama nominated and the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed her to serve as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  At PHMSA, Dominguez managed the development and enforcement of safety regulations and oversaw safety operations for the nation’s interstate gas and liquid pipelines as well as all hazardous materials shipments by rail, highway, sea and air. She has also served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works at the U.S. Department of Defense, overseeing policy and budget direction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; vice president for Government Relations and Public Policy at the United States Postal Service, where she led legislative and public policy objectives for the country’s then second largest civilian employer; deputy chief of staff and counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); special assistant to the chairman at the National Transportation Safety Board and as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and associate director of Presidential personnel in the White House. Dominguez obtained her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and her B.A. in American Studies from Smith College.

Jamey Barbas was charged with replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York with the Gov, Mario M. Cuomo Bridge on behalf of the New York State Thruway Authority, as special advisor to the Governor on Infrastructure Initiatives. Barbas has previously held leadership positions at international consulting firms involved in the strategic and technical aspects for the completion of major structures, and she led the design and construction support services for the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City. She serves on the board of directors for Bridges to Prosperity, a non-profit that provides footbridges in rural communities to increase access to schools and healthcare. She obtained her B.S. in Engineering from Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and her B.A. in Biology and Psychology from Barnard College.

Steven M. Cohen is executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated. Cohen previously has served as Secretary to Governor Cuomo, as well counselor and chief of staff in the Office of the New York Attorney General under Attorney General Cuomo. In the private sector he has represented corporations and individuals in commercial, criminal, and regulatory matters. Cohen previously also served as the chief of the Violent Gangs Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He is a member of the New York University board of trustees. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A. from New York University.

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