If New Jersey and New York want to get their Gateway tunnel project, they are going to have to make a deal to get funding.
That’s according to ranking member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, U.S. Rep. Thomas Reed, R-N.Y., during a Tuesday morning question and answer session hosted by the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Reed sat alongside another ranking member of the caucus, New Jersey U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, to delve into how bipartisanship affects local and large businesses.
“When you go out into the rest of the world a lot of folks are like ‘Why, I don’t care, I don’t go to New York City, I don’t travel there, I don’t participate, it doesn’t affect me,” Reed said. “This is a classic example of where a deal could be struck.”
What kind of deal? Reed suggested a change to the funding formulas the state and federal governments employ to figure out which transportation projects in each state receive priority funding.
Lawmakers from New Jersey and New York are attempting to build two new tunnels that would carry trains under the Hudson River from New York Penn Station to New Jersey.
The tunnels are over 100 years old, and advocates say they’re in desperate need of repairs, especially after suffering heavy damage under Superstorm Sandy.
At some point, one or both would have to be closed down for repairs, a move that could cripple the region’s economy.
Under President Obama, the tunnel was considered a top priority, and his administration pledged to match as much as half the funding put forward by New York and New Jersey. But that arrangement was scuttled under the Trump administration, and has led to speculation as to whether the president’s decision was politically motivated.
The tunnels are part of the Gateway infrastructure renewal program, which includes replacing century-old components of the infrastructure and is estimated to cost upward of $30 billion.