Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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Maloney, Transportation Secretary spar over Gateway project

WASHINGTON – Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) locked horns with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao during a congressional hearing on Tuesday over the proposed Gateway program of rail upgrades in the northeast.

Reports last week indicated President Trump told congressional Republicans to oppose the project.

Maloney pushed Chao into answering his question if the president interceded to kill the project and she told him he would have to ask the White House that question.

She did say, however, that the reason it was being blocked is that the states of New York and New Jersey “have no skin in the game” by not providing a share of the funding.

“The president’s own transition team said Gateway would create over 30,000 jobs in the New York metro and should be our country’s top priority – this is just crazy,” said Maloney.

Currently two rail tunnels under the Hudson River connect New York’s Penn Station to New Jersey’s Penn Station, both used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The existing tunnels are over 100 years old and were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Maloney noted that if one of the tunnels is forced to close for repairs, rail capacity would be reduced by 75 percent.

Gateway would increase capacity on tracks, tunnels, bridges and stations, eventually create four new tracks, including a new two-track Hudson River tunnel. The program would also modernize other infrastructure including electrical systems and bridges.

 


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