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Former New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation Kris Kolluri. (Photo: Rutgers University Alumni Association).

Kolluri will head Gateway tunnel project

Ex-N.J. transportation commissioner is Murphy’s pick to run non-profit group building a new Hudson River rail tunnel

By David Wildstein, May 05 2022 2:44 pm

Kris Kolluri, a former New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation, has been tapped to head the Gateway Program Development Corporation that is building a new tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York,  the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Kolluri served as transportation commissioner during the first three years of Gov. Jon Corzine’s administration.  He’s currently the president and CEO of the Camden Community Partnership and a former CEO of the Rowan University-Rutgers Camden Board of Governors.

The Gateway tunnel is the successor to the Accessing the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel that Gov. Chris Christie cancelled in 2010.  Kolluri, who also served as chairman of New Jersey Transit, had been a central player in gaining approvals for the ARC tunnel, which was already under construction when Christie halted the project.

Gateway is building a rail tunnel between Newark and Penn Station in Manhattan to accommodate more than 2,000 daily trains that transport about 800,000 commuters per day.

Kolluri is the choice of Gov. Phil Murphy for the post.

The Gateway Development Corporation is comprised of seven commissioners: three from New Jersey, three from New York, and Tony Coscia, a New Jerseyan who represents Amtrak on the board.

Kolluri and Coscia have a long-standing relationship.  Coscia was chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey when Kolluri was transportation commissioner.  From 2012 to 2014, Kolluri worked at Coscia’s law firm, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, where he specialized in transportation and infrastructure matters.

In May, Murphy’s senior counsel, Edmund Caulfield, was named  general counsel to the Gateway corporation.

In 2006 and 2007, Kolluri served brief stints as acting Governor of New Jersey while Corzine was out of state.  The Commissioner of Transportation was fourth in the line of gubernatorial succession at the time; since the office of lieutenant governor was created, the transportation commissioner is now fifth.  Kolluri, a former aide to Reps. Richard Gephardt and Rob Andrews, was the first Asian American to serve as acting governor.

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