The office of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued a press release this morning, detailing the Senator’s continued push for the Gateway Tunnel Project.
The Gateway project would add two new train tunnels across the Hudson River, to support commuter rail traffic and true High-Speed Rail service on the Northeast Corridor. For New Jersey Transit commuters, the project’s new capacity would add up to 13 trains per hour in each direction during the morning and evening commutes.
Last week, Amtrak and the NEC was awarded $450M to institute HSR on a stretch of track in Pennsylvania and NJ. Left out of the funding, however, was the reconstruction of the Portal Bridge, a key component of the $13B Gateway project.
Lautenberg argued for the project at a Senate hearing with Amtrak CEO, Joe Boardman, who has detailed his support for Gateway in the past. You can view Lautenber’s remarks in the video below.
Antagonism from the Right
Lautenberg’s comments are yet another round in a fight that has dragged on in NJ since the cancellation of the ARC tunnel last October. Just last Friday, the Wall Street Journal Metropolis Blog reported that Christie accused NJ Senators Lautenberg and Menendez of failure in the last funding round. According to Lisa Flesher, Christie remarked:
“I feel badly about it,” the Republican governor said Thursday, reflecting on the lack of federal funding to replace the aging Portal Bridge, ”because I wish they would have been more powerful and more successful in being able to get more resources for New Jersey, but obviously they failed in that regard.”
Christie’s criticism rings hollow, unfortunately, particularly light of the ARC cancellation. This weekend, the NY Times published a harsh report on Christie’s transportation record as governor. If NJ is going to secure funds, state leadership needs to present a united front, to avoid the kind of debacle that crippled the ARC Tunnel.