Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the congressman who represents Verona, is trying to get federal transit officials to reaffirm their support for a rail tunnel project that could make commuting to Manhattan a whole lot easier.
Frelinghuysen, who is chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, wrote Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams yesterday that the Gateway/Hudson River Tunnels projects are a “national infrastructure priority” that need to be done. On December 29, Williams denied, in a letter to New York’s Director of Budget Robert Mujica, that there was a so-called “50:50” agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation, New York and New Jersey on funding for the project.
According to Crain’s New York Business, however, such an agreement was reached in 2015. The paper says that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) brokered a deal between the Obama administration and the governors of New York and New Jersey that would split that cost of Gateway evenly between the states and the feds. Gateway was the successor to a rail tunnel project that Christie cancelled in 2010.
The $20 billion Gateway Project would make it possible to double the capacity of the Hudson River rail tunnels to 48 per hour from 24. “A project of this size and scope requires investment from all stakeholders and your vision too!,” Frelinghuysen wrote Williams. “I strongly encourage the Administration to support my state and New York in this effort.”
“It is also imperative we pursue Gateway to ensure millions of Americans continue to access this vital economic Northeast Corridor that enables safe transportation of more than 800,000 daily riders, from Washington to Boston, in an area that supports approximately 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP),” he added. “Further, this rail project serves as a critical choke point for Amtrak’s entire operation on the East Coast from Florida to Maine.”
“It is the responsibility of the House Committee on Appropriations to assure that such national priorities are met,” added Frelinghuysen.