Gov. Phil Murphy today toured the North River Tunnel with state legislative leadership and members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation. The 108-year-old tunnel has been in disrepair and in dire need of replacement since extensive damage was caused by Hurricane Sandy.
“The rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel and construction of the new Hudson Tunnel is crucial to the tri-state area, and in particular New Jersey,” Governor Murphy said. “It is time for the Trump administration to prioritize the needs of commuters and our nation’s economy, and commit to funding the Gateway Program.”
According to Amtrak, any major repairs will require at least one tunnel tube to be closed, which will have catastrophic effects on our regional and national economies if the Hudson Tunnel is not constructed by that time.
The Gateway Program will include the construction of a new Hudson Tunnel followed by repairs for the North River Tunnel that will both expand capacity for commuter and regional train service and alleviate pressure on the existing tunnel.
The Congressional Delegation and State Legislative leadership offered their support for the project.
“While the Trump administration has thrown up every imaginable roadblock—and even some no one could have dreamed—to slow Gateway down, we have kept this project alive in the face of overwhelming opposition at the highest level. Our delegation secured $541 million in last year’s transportation appropriations bill for Gateway over the veto threat of the President, and increased funding for the New Starts program after the Administration tried to eliminate it,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee. “I will continue doing everything in my power, working alongside Gov. Murphy, to advance Gateway. Replacing the Portal Bridge and Hudson River rail tunnels are national priorities. The safety of the riding public and the region’s economy are at stake. Failure to see this project of national significance completed is not an option.”
“Despite President Trump’s best efforts to derail it, Gateway remains one of the most critical infrastructure projects in the nation,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Each day we fail to invest in vital infrastructure projects like Gateway not only threatens our nation’s economy, but also jeopardizes the safety and well-being of our region’s rail passengers. We need a long-term solution to address our nation’s infrastructure crisis, and not the political games President Trump continues to play at the expense of the American people.”
Last March, 10 New Jersey business groups, including the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, wrote and signed an op-ed piece in support of the Gateway Tunnel project. Concerned about President Trump’s opposition to the project, they said the rail tunnels between New Jersey and New York Penn station represent the busiest rail hub in the Western Hemisphere. However, the life expectancy of the tunnels is just 10 years. The impacts of long-term tunnel closures would create a “nightmarish” situation in the region, the wrote. Closure of even one tube along the existing 10-mile tunnel would reduce travel capacity by up to 75 percent. Additionally, the group stressed that the tunnel system represents 30 percent of all jobs in the US and contributes $3 trillion to the nation’s economy every year.
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