NEW YORK – Several members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation, including Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th, joined Gov. Phil Murphy and others Friday to testify at a field roundtable of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives on the importance of federal support for the Gateway Program.
This program of projects, which includes replacing the century-old Portal Bridge, a two-track moveable swing-span railroad bridge over the Hackensack River in Kearny and Secaucus and the construction of a new tunnel under the Hudson River, is the most urgently needed infrastructure project in the nation, with wide-ranging economic impacts, according to Malinowski and other members of the state's Congressional delegation.
Gateway is the replacement for the ARC Tunnel Project, which was canceled in 2010 by former Gov. Chris Christie because of financial considerations.
“My Administration is unwaveringly committed to ensuring the safe passage of the thousands of commuters crossing the Hudson daily, and any failure to complete the Gateway Program critically undermines this responsibility,” Murphy said.
“New Jersey has, and will continue to be, invested as a full partner to build Gateway, and I continue to call on the Trump Administration to join with us in this project of regional and national significance,” Murphy added.. I thank the members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their support, and for visiting our region to help move this program forward.”
“There has never been a debate about the need for Gateway -- the economy of New Jersey and the northeastern United States depends on maintaining and improving the region’s most indispensable transportation link,” Malinowski said.
“The difference now is that the House of Representatives is seized with the urgency of getting Gateway done. I’m glad we had a chance to show the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee how dire the situation is, and I believe that the visit will increase our determination.”
Malinowski, whose congressional district encompasses a huge swath of central New Jersey towns, used the opportunity to highlight how constituents across the 7th district, which includes Somerville and several other commuter towns along the Raritan Valley Line, are affected by the delay of the Gateway Project. Representatives from the Raritan Valley Line Mayor’s Alliance were present to shine a spotlight on the difficulties commuters face getting into the city due to limited tunnel capacity.
“GDC is grateful for the support of our Governors and a bi-partisan delegation in Congress that is committed to seeing Gateway built,” said Jerry Zaro, NJ Trustee and Chairman of the Gateway Program Development Corporation. “Today’s roundtable is yet another example of why Gateway is a project of national significance, and needs a Federal partnership to ensure this vital link to 20 percent of the nation’s economy thrives and serves the region and nation for generations to come.”
“The Hudson Tunnels are vital to the region and nation’s economy, and so is the Portal Bridge," said Kevin Corbett, Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT. "Portal is ready to go with the early action construction work completed on time and on budget earlier this year, and New Jersey’s funding commitment to the new bridge is 100 percent solid. All that is needed is for the Federal government to provide its share of funding, so we can keep this project moving and improve service reliability and predictability for our customers.”
The Portal North Bridge and Hudson River Tunnel Projects are imperative to the functioning of the Northeast Corridor (NEC), one of the busiest transit corridors in the nation. These two projects are single points of failure on the NEC, and a failure at either would have catastrophic consequences to the region and the country. The Murphy Administration has pledged $600 million to support the Portal North Bridge project.
The program, which has bipartisan support in Congress and from the New Jersey delegation along with other State leaders, has been delayed in the financial and environmental review process with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.
“Inaction on critically important infrastructure projects such as Gateway has serious consequences and the cost of delay is extraordinarily high for our nation. That’s why it was so important to see the project first-hand and hold this field roundtable,” said committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-OR.
“Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey have worked incredibly hard to provide their local share of funding. Unfortunately for projects like Gateway, federal investment in infrastructure has significantly decreased in recent years. It’s time for the federal government to step up and do its job,” he added.
“Every day that we delay beginning construction on the Gateway Program $1 million is added to the estimated construction cost due to inflation alone. I appreciate the fresh insight from Governor Murphy, members of Congress, as well as the other stakeholders and I plan to take the information I’ve learned over the past two days with me back to Congress as we continue to fight for critically important federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure.”
"In New Jersey, we’ve long known that this project must be built,” Malinowski said. “The difference now is that the House of Representatives knows it, too, and is determined to use our leverage to make it happen. I’m glad we had a chance to show the Committee how dire the situation is, and I am gratified by Chairman DeFazio’s commitment that funding for the Gateway Project will be included in the planned infrastructure bill.”
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