New Jersey’s top officials call on federal intervention for recent transit issues

New Jersey's top officials are calling for federal intervention for recent transit issues

New Jersey's top officials are calling for federal intervention for recent transit issues (4/19/17)

NEWARK - Some of New Jersey’s top leaders are calling on the federal government to help rectify recent problems with the state’s transit infrastructure.

Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker joined some other New Jersey leaders Wednesday to ask the transportation secretary to visit New Jersey to view the rails and to help provide funding for the Gateway Tunnel Project.

The proposed project would include new rail tunnels, rehabilitation of the existing tunnels and replace the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. But The Trump administration’s proposed budget did not seem to include funding for the project.

“The president's well aware of my point of view on this project and I absolutely will continue to speak my mind on this both publicly and privately,” Christie said.

Protesters gathered outside the meeting at Newark Penn Station to blame the governor for the recent rail issues. They slammed Christie for rejecting the previously planned Arc Tunnel Project. That project was expected to have been completed next year if it was approved. But the governor says that he shut it down because of its costs to taxpayers.

“He cannot call himself a defender of commuters when what he has done under his watch is cut the funds that New Jersey transportation actually needs,” said protester Analilia Mejia.

Both Christie and Booker refused to answer any questions about the Arc Tunnel Project at the news conference.

“I don't want to keep revisiting history. I want to talk about where we are right now,” Booker said.

Officials say that if the current rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey were to close, 75 percent of rail capacity would be impacted, displacing 60,000 New Jersey commuters.

State leaders say that they want the federal government to pay for half of the new Gateway Tunnel Project. New York and New Jersey would then cover 25 percent each.

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