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Port Authority to feds: Let's get started on tunnel

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made its case Monday for a federal commitment to funding its share of the $12.7 billion Hudson Tunnel Project.

Executive Director Richard Cotton, in a letter addressed to the Federal Transit Administration, said the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners already voted in July to commit $2.7 billion toward the project.

The letter comes following power outages and downed wires grinding rail traffic in the tunnels to a halt for several hours over the weekend.

Federal officials have maintained that state governments would have to come up with $5.5 billion in funding. New York and New Jersey have each committed to fund the remaining $2.8 billion, according to Steve Sigmund, a spokesperson for the Gateway Program.

The tunnel was opened in 1910 and heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Cotton said he would want construction to begin by the middle of next year. If repairs aren’t done and one of the tunnels has to be taken offline, it could cripple the regional economy, proponents have said.

“Closure of one of the two tubes of the existing North River Tunnel prior to construction and completion of a new Hudson River Tunnel would be disastrous,” Cotton wrote.

The goal of the letter is to press the FTA to include funds for the tunnel in its fiscal year 2019 budget, which begins at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1.

The tunnels are part of the $30 billion Gateway Project.

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Robert Menendez and other state officials made the case in Secaucus for the federal government to commit funding to the Portal Bridge, with Murphy saying it’s “shovel-ready” as soon as it gets the cooperation of the Trump administration.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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