NJ Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Gateway Tunnel Project

Sep 25, 2017

Gateway Program Development Corporation executive director John Porcari testifies at legislative hearing.

The Gateway Project to construct two rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York could take until 2030 to complete. But it might not begin if federal funding is not forthcoming.

New Jersey state Senator Bob Gordon says the two states have agreed to put up 50 percent of the construction costs, but there's no clear commitment from the federal government for the other half.

"We are ready to begin construction of a new portal bridge to replace the antiquated swing bridge over the Hackensack River that is the worst choke point on the Northeast Corridor, but the funding isn't there yet."

Gordon says it would be 'commuter Armageddon' if one of the existing tunnels had to be closed to repair damage caused by flooding from Superstorm Sandy five years ago.

Gateway Program Development Corporation director John Porcari says Gateway is the most urgent infrastructure project in America.

“No other project seeks to address the multiple single points of failure that put 10 percent of America’s gross domestic product at risk every day.”

Without U-S funding for the $27 billion-dollar project, Porcari told lawmakers there's no plan B.

“I have never seen a project of national significance that didn’t have a federal funding component. It’s simply beyond the capacity, even the combined capacity, of the two states, New Jersey and New York, to do on their own.”

Tom Wright, the President of the Regional Plan Association, says delays in getting the project underway will make it more expensive.

"Often costs on these projects escalate at about 5 percent a year. Every single year that we delay building Gateway adds roughly a billion dollars to the cost of the project. Every month we delay adds almost $100 million."