SJR-80 (Lagan, D-38; Weinberg, D-37) urges the Trump administration to adhere to an agreement made by the governors of New Jersey and New York, and the federal government to fund the Gateway Program, which would create a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City.
"Economic development and job creation in New Jersey will become considerably more challenging if the Gateway project is not completed in a timely fashion," said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. "Congress has appropriated $540 million that could be used to start the project, but there is no guarantee that it will be used for Gateway. We need to be vigilant to make sure this funding is allocated where it is needed most.
"There can be no argument against the need for the project," Buteas said. "The 10-mile tunnel between New Jersey and Penn Station, the busiest rail hub in the Western Hemisphere, has a life expectancy of about 10 more years. To close it for a lengthy period would create a transportation nightmare in our region."
Creating a new tunnel under the Hudson River would allow the existing tubes to be closed one at a time for repairs with minimal disruption to the transportation system. Additionally, the project provides for the reconstruction of the 111-year-old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack.
"The tunnel project would also be good for the economy," Buteas said. "It would generate an estimated $9 billion in economic activity and create hundreds of thousands of high-skilled jobs."