The Gateway Program Development Corporation (GPDC) announced that Steven M. Cohen, the Trustee for the State of New York, is Chairman for 2020. The appointment is part of the organization’s annual rotation of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees between New Jersey and New York. Cohen was last chairman during 2018.
The Amtrak Trustee, Anthony Coscia, remains Vice-Chair of GPDC.
Cohen succeeds Jerry Zaro, the New Jersey Trustee who served as Chair during 2019 and becomes Treasurer of GPDC following Board confirmation.
The structure will remain in place until the new bi-state Gateway Development Commission is fully constituted. During 2019, the states of New Jersey and New York passed legislation led and signed by Governors Cuomo and Murphy establishing the new Commission, which is eligible to receive Federal, State and Local grants and will take on a leadership role in the delivery of the Gateway Program. The Commission consists of 7 Commissioners: 3 from New Jersey, 3 from New York and 1 from Amtrak. Board action requires an affirmative vote from at least 2 New Jersey Commissioners, 2 New York Commissioners, and 1 from Amtrak. All 7 Commissioners have been nominated and 5 appointed. New Jersey awaits confirmation on 2 of its Commissioners.
Commenting on the appointment, Chairman Cohen said, “Our job is and has always been to do everything we can as Trustees to move Gateway forward. There simply isn’t time to waste in replacing and rehabilitating an outdated, increasingly flagging one-track-in, one-track-out rail system for the entire Northeast Corridor. Chairman Zaro led Gateway with extraordinary skill and determination during 2019, and the strength of our partnership will create a seamless transition to this year’s work.”
Outgoing Chairman Zaro said, “I was honored to serve as chairman during 2019, and to oversee important advancements in our projects, particularly passing bi-state legislation so the Gateway Commission can truly achieve our mission. This is a partnership that works when it is hand in hand between New Jersey, New York and Amtrak, and rotating leadership is part of advancing that partnership. Chairman Cohen was an outstanding Chair during 2018 and will assuredly be so again in 2020. We are in good hands.”
Vice Chair Coscia added, “Demonstrated leadership in Steve Cohen and Jerry Zaro has proven to be a critical element in advancing Gateway, and I know Steve will continue to effectively guide these vital projects forward. The bottom line is the busiest part of the entire Northeast Corridor must be brought up to 21st Century standards to relieve a century old bottleneck and allow this region and our nation to grow. We’ll keep working hard with New Jersey, New York and our Federal partners to keep the most urgent infrastructure projects in the country moving forward.”
The three Trustees recently released an end of year letter for 2019 highlighting some of the most significant accomplishments for the year including a strengthened financial plan that cut $1.4 billion from the Hudson Tunnel project cost, passage of bi-state legislation to create the Gateway Development Commission, and efforts to extend the useful lives of the existing Portal Bridge and Hudson Tunnel.
During 2020, the Trustees will be focused on a number of areas to move the projects toward full construction. Key among these are the Federal Department of Transportation issuing a positive Record of Decision on the Hudson Tunnel EIS and providing improved ratings for the grant applications submitted for the Portal Bridge and Hudson Tunnel Projects.
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