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Gov. Phil Murphy at a press conference on funding New Jersey infrastructure projects on September 4, 2018

Federal government moves forward on Gateway project

By David Wildstein, May 28 2021 8:57 am

The Gateway tunnel is now a little closer to reality with approval of a key regulatory hurdle that that stalled the new cross-Hudson project by more than three years.

The Federal Railroad Administration approved a legally required Environmental Impact Statement that will allow a new tunnel between New Jersey and New York City, a move blocked by the Trump administration.

“After three years of politically-motivated delays and attempts by the Trump Administration to derail Gateway, this long-overdue milestone gets us one step closer to building a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel and delivering New Jersey commuters the safe, reliable service they demand and deserve,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez in a statement released Friday morning.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker applauded the move that he said would mark “yet another exciting step toward providing New Jersey commuters the relief they desperately need.”

“Since the early meetings of the stakeholders for this project, we affirmed long-term commitments to updating this outdated infrastructure and putting the Gateway Program back on track,” said Booker.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Menendez, our stakeholders, the Gateway Commission, and the Biden Administration in seeing Gateway through to completion.”

Menendez and Booker credited the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, for moving the Gateway project along just four months into the Biden presidency.

A full-funding agreement for the Portal North Bridge was recently approved after a long delay.  The opens up $800 million in federal funding to replace the antiquated and failing 110-year-old bridge.

“Today’s action is a key step forward to building rail infrastructure that will be dependable for decades to come,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.  “We look forward to working with our regional and federal partners to complete the Hudson Tunnel Project and continue to advance the Gateway Program in order to provide much needed relief to commuters and businesses in New Jersey and New York.”

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) said that “years of inexplicable delay from the previous administration have made this project more expensive and increased the risk of a catastrophic failure of this crucial transit corridor.”

“That’s why today’s announcement is so important – it will allow engineering work to begin immediately and get us closer to putting shovels in the ground for a project which is critical to my constituents and the nation,” Sherrill said.  “With this approval granted, I now look forward to working with the administration on the American Jobs Plan to ensure that projects of national and regional significance like Gateway get the funding they need.”

This story was updated at 9:20 AM with comment from Murphy and at 3:49 with comment from Sherrill.

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