November 12, 2015
RE: Gateway Project Progress Noted
Thanks to the tireless stewardship of Senator Corey Booker and the willingness of key leaders from New Jersey and New York – most notably Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo - to put partisanship aside, we are pleased to see a significant step forward for the vital Gateway Project.
Our thanks also to the many mayors who took the time and made the effort to contact their Congressional representatives in the House, advocating for action on this matter. On behalf of current residents of New Jersey, and on behalf of future generations, we sincerely appreciate your response to our October 27 call to action.
Governors Christie and Cuomo, Senator Booker and New York’s Senator Charles Schumer have issued a Joint Statement announcing that State and Federal officials have agreed to create a development corporation to oversee the project. Based on that understanding, Federal officials have committed to funding at least half of the estimated $20 billion that will be needed to complete the Gateway tunnel project. The project would allow continued rail traffic between Newark and Mid-town Manhattan during badly needed repairs on the existing, 105 year-old concrete and steel tubes. Ultimately, the project, slated for completion by 2030, would double capacity under the Hudson River.
Back in September, in a joint letter to President Obama, the Governors had committed to funding 50% of the costs, provided the Federal government agreed to pledge the balance. The arrangement, announced today, was worked out with State officials in conjunction with Senators Booker and Schumer, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Amtrak CEO Anthony Coscia.
We are extremely grateful to Senator Booker for his work in advancing this crucial project. When League of Municipalities’ President and Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler went down to Washington, back in May, at Senator Booker’s urging, to speak before his transportation subcommittee, he made sure they realized that the economic case for investment in our long-term infrastructure is clear-- we know it will grow the economy, create good jobs, and position us for long-term growth. The moral case for action is just as plain. We cannot leave the costs of disinvestment to our children.
League of Municipalities’ Transportation Task Force Chair and Hope Mayor Timothy McDonough expressed his admiration for Governors Christie and Cuomo. “They put the needs of the region above partisanship. They showed the ‘Can do’ spirit that made America
great. And, along with their partners in the Senate, in the Administration and at Amtrak, they made a commitment to the future.
“We hope a similar spirit will move officials in Trenton toward bi-partisan action on our own Transportation Trust Fund, without any more delay.”
Again, our thanks to those of you who have contacted our Federal representatives on this. We urge all to follow suit.
|Brian C. Wahler, President
NJLM and Mayor,
|Timothy McDonough, Chair,
NJLM Transportation Task Force
and Mayor, Hope Township