NEW JERSEY -- Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition are applauding the funding and the governance structure agreement for the Gateway Tunnel project, which would further open access to New York's Penn Station for thousands of commuters. 

New Jersey and New York leaders have reached a deal on constructing a new trans-Hudson river tunnel that will have a direct impact on the 22,000 thousand riders along the Raritan Valley line who use NJ Transit to travel in and out of Manhattan. The total cost could reach $20 billion with the federal government and Amtrak footing half of the bill and the states of New York and New Jersey paying the other half.

“It is real now; the Federal government has committed to 50 percent of the project costs and a development corporation has been tasked in getting the tunnel built,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, head of the RVRC’s Coalition of Mayors. "I want to thank Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) for his leadership as well as Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on forging this historic agreement that has multiple state and federal agencies coming together for the good of all concerned."

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In August, Senator Booker arranged a meeting between the two governors to discuss the issue and begin to figure a way forward for the long delayed Gateway Project. The project took on critical importance as a result of the damage the existing century-old rail tunnels experienced with Superstorm Sandy.

“This is a tremendous first step,” said Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer, Chairman of RVRC. “Congratulations to Senator Booker for his advocacy in bringing Governors Christie and Cuomo together to make this agreement a reality. When complete, it will mean a full ‘one seat ride’ schedule to New York’s Penn Station, not requiring the changing of trains in Newark.”

For 20 years, the RVRC has been advocating on behalf of commuters along the rail line that covers four NJ counties. It recently launched a video that outlined what life would look like if the Gateway project did not come to fruition.

“We are grateful that our Senator has been willing to do whatever it takes to make this project a priority,” added Union County Freeholder and RVRC Trustee Bette Jane Kowalski.

Click here to read the press release issued by Senator Booker.