Govs. Christie, Cuomo commit to their financial share of Gateway Tunnel project

Courtesy of Amtrak

The governors' announcement was immediately panned by state lawmakers and New Jersey transportation advocates, and Gov. -elect Phil Murphy is also already promising to see if he can undo it or at least find a better alternative once he takes office. "This is the type of deal that tells you a lot about why people are frustrated with politics. Together, with the rehabilitation of the existing tunnel, this project will result in the crucial Northeast Corridor having four tracks between New Jersey and NY under the Hudson River, allowing for increased ridership in the future".

The federal government was to pay for the other half under an agreement negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but President Donald Trump hasn't made the same commitment.

"Together with the rehabilitation of the existing tunnel, this project will result in the crucial Northeast Corridor having four tracks between New Jersey and NY under the Hudson River, allowing for increased ridership in the future", Christie said.

The new tunnel would replace an existing, 107-year-old tunnel that now is used daily by both NJ Transit and Amtrak. They believe the work is necessary to avoid the "disastrous scenario" of a closure of one of the two tubes of the existing Amtrak North River Tunnel, which would slow rail traffic to a crawl. "It positions the project to immediately compete for federal Capital Investment Grant funds".

New Jersey will raise its share from commuters by charging them an extra 90 cents for every trip into NY starting in 2020.

"Under Gov. Christie, New Jersey has consistently been the last one to the table, both on Gateway and its predecessor, Access to the Region's Core", said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, citing the commuter rail project Christie killed in 2010.

Together, the three funding commitments will cover 100 percent of the local share for the most urgent, time sensitive elements of the project: the construction of a new tunnel and the Hudson Yards concrete casing, which total $11.1 billion of the $12.7 billion construction cost. New Jersey Transit will commit $1.9 billion, while the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey will also chip in $1.9 billion for a combined total of $5.55 billion.

Christie said in a statement yesterday that the new agreement marked a "pivotal milestone".

Major construction is scheduled to commence in 2018 pending the commitment of the federal share of funding.

In 2020 it would be 90 cents, 10 years later it jumps to $1.70, and ten years after that $2.20.

"Commuters have suffered for years due to Christie's mismanagement, neglect and underfunding of NJ Transit".

"It's time for the president to commit to fully fund the vital Gateway tunnel project because it is so important to our regional and national economy", said Schumer, from NY. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen).

NY and New Jersey would pay half the cost. "I don't know the answer because I was not in the room or part of the negotiations".

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