New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation today to create a bi-state commission to accept federal funding for the Gateway tunnel project that would double Trans-Hudson Tunnel train capacity and allow for existing tunnels to be repaired.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has said the existing Gateway Program Development Corp., which has been shepherding the project, wasn’t authorized to process any aid.
In a joint statement, the two governors today called the Gateway project the single most important infrastructure project in the nation and criticized the Trump administration for failing to pay the federal government’s fair share to replace the federally-owned asset.
“The current Hudson River train tunnels are in dire condition, and it’s only a matter of time before one or both tubes fail,” reads the statement. “While the Trump administration continues to put politics ahead of the safety and economic security of the nation, New York and New Jersey are working together to get the job done. The signing of this legislation will statutorily create the Gateway Development Commission as a bi-state entity to facilitate the new Hudson Tunnel Project.”
According to a study conducted by the Regional Plan Association, a partial shutdown of the Hudson River tunnel to repair damage without having a new tunnel already built would cost the economy an estimated $16 billion over four years, and would reduce home values by an estimated $22 billion. A shutdown would also mean a dramatic increase in commuter travel times, increased congestion on public transit and roadways, decreased economic productivity, and job losses.
“The Gateway Program isn’t just about New York and New Jersey – it’s about the entire national economy with 20 percent of the country’s GDP reliant on the region served by the Northeast Corridor,” reads the statement. “In the absence of leadership in Washington, we remain committed to moving ahead with this profoundly urgent infrastructure project.”
Related Planet Princeton story: Why Princeton area residents should care about the Gateway Tunnel Project