Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) has released the following statement in response to news of the federal approval for the Hudson Tunnel Project, a key part of the Gateway project that aims to modernize the rail system that serves New York, which has officially arrived from the Biden Administration.
The Gateway Program is a comprehensive project of strategic rail infrastructure upgrades designed to improve current services and create new capacity that will allow the doubling of passenger trains running under the Hudson River. The tunnels, which would carry trains deep under the Hudson River would supplement the existing tunnels that are more than 110 years old and were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
“This is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the country. If we don’t build it, the tunnel could fail, crippling the Northeast economy and posing a major public safety risk. The tunnel is over 100 years old and was damaged during Hurricane Sandy,” said Rep. Maloney. “Today’s news is a major step forward. We need to get this thing done and we need to do it soon”.
In November 2015, Governors Chris Christie (NJ) and Andrew Cuomo (NY), U.S. Senators, Amtrak, and the United States Department of Transportation announced an agreement that the states would cover half the cost of the project. Amtrak and the federal government would provide funding for the other half. But, in December 2017, acting Federal Transit Administrator K. Jane Williams said in a letter to the Governors that the funding agreement was “nonexistent.” The Trump Administration continued to stall and oppose funding for the Gateway project.
In March 2018, after reports broke that President Trump was actively whipping congressional Republicans against funding the comprehensive Gateway rail project, Rep. Maloney grilled Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao regarding the White House’s efforts to kill the project. During the hearing, Secretary Chao confirmed that the President was personally working to kill the project.
Currently, only two rail tunnels under the Hudson River connect New York’s Penn Station to New Jersey’s Penn Station. Before the pandemic, the Northeast Corridor’s commuter and intercity rail serviced about 750,000 people each day and moved a workforce that contributes $50 billion annually to the American economy. As our economic recovery continues, we need to ensure our infrastructure systems are ready.
The tubes are used by both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. If one of the existing tubes is forced to close for repairs, rail capacity through the tunnels would be reduced by 75%. Gateway will increase capacity on tracks, tunnels, bridges, and stations, eventually creating four new tracks, including a new two-track Hudson River tunnel. The program would also modernize other failing infrastructure including electrical systems and bridges.