New Jersey delegation tours Hudson Rail tunnel in bid to break federal fund impasse

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NEW YORK -

Several members of New Jersey's congressional delegation and Gov. Phil Murphy toured the century-old Hudson Rail tunnel as they seek to end a funding impasse with the federal government over a $13 billion project to build a new tunnel.

“It's the most important transportation project in the United States of America,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski.

Amtrak, which owns the tunnel, says flooding from 2012's Superstorm Sandy damaged the interior and requires ongoing repair work. Amtrak says the tunnel's deteriorating condition could eventually create significant disruptions for travelers.

“We are sitting on a transportation ticking time bomb and we do not have the luxury of waiting,” said Sen. Bob Menendez.

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The North Bridge Tunnel was built in 1910 to carry about 13,000 passengers and just over 100 trains per day between New York and New Jersey. Today, it carries 200,000 passengers in 450 trains per day.

The $30 billion Gateway Project would repair the North Bridge Tunnel and build a new tunnel between Newark and New York's Penn Station. It was proposed in 2015 but federal funding has been slow to follow. Federal transportation officials are balking at committing funding.

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They say billions of dollars in federal loans sought by New York and New Jersey shouldn't count as the states' contribution.

Newly elected Rep. Malinowski said that getting funding for the tunnel is his top priority. He is now on the House Transportation Committee.

“I think there's a lot of opportunity for a deal this year on infrastructure, on transportation, where we can say Gateway has got to be at the top of that list,” Malinowski said.

In October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the tunnel and sent video footage to President Donald Trump.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

 

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