A New Jersey congressman, who happens to chair the committee responsible for appropriating funds for transportation programs, explains the funds allocated for the Gateway Program will advance a project that is critical to the U.S. economy.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, which released its proposal for the Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill July 10, said he was “especially pleased that more than $900 million will be allocated to the Gateway program in the New Jersey-New York area in this legislation.”
“It is not an overstatement to say that Gateway is critical to our nation’s economy. The Northeast Corridor (NEC) region, encompassing over 50 million people from Washington D.C. to Boston, produces approximately $3 trillion in economic output, equal to 20 percent of our national Gross Domestic Product. Safe and reliable passenger rail travel through New Jersey and New York City is essential to that economic productivity,” explained Rep. Frelinghuysen.
He continued by saying that the number of New Jersey residents commuting to New York City grew by more than 35 percent between 2002 and 2014, but noted the perpetual delays and decaying infrastructure state residents have experienced.
“The Gateway project, especially the proposed new Hudson River Tunnel, serves both public transportation (New Jersey Transit) and intercity passenger rail (Amtrak). $500 million will be provided in ‘rail state of good repair grants’ – authorized primarily for NEC – from Federal Railroad Administration funds. Another $400 million in transit money is tied to soon-to-ready-for-construction funding for the Hudson Tunnel and the Portal North Bridge. In addition, a significant portion of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor $328 million in funding will be used to support projects associated with Gateway,” said Rep. Frelinghuysen.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pleased with the inclusion of the program in the bill.
Gov. Christie issued a statement that read, “The House DOT bill, allocating $900 million in federal funds for the beginning of the Gateway project, is a triumph for our region. Only through the leadership of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is this type of congressional commitment possible. On behalf of all the people of New Jersey, I thank Rep. Frelinghuysen for his bold leadership for our transportation future.”