Frelinghuysen, Lance praise federal transportation dollars for critical N.J. projects

U.S. Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen and Leonard Lance, New Jersey Republicans, applauded committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill, which would allocate more than $900 million to the critical Gateway infrastructure program in the New Jersey-New York area.

The Gateway Program includes a Hudson River train tunnel project that would serve New Jersey Public Transit and Amtrak trains, improving passenger service while increasing capacity in the congested Northeast Corridor. The estimated cost to build a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River, along with other infrastructure, has risen to $13 billion, officials say.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Gateway is critical to our nation’s economy,” Frelinghuysen, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, said. “The Northeast Corridor region, encompassing over 50 million people from Washington D.C. to Boston, produces approximately $3 trillion in economic output, equal to 20 percent of our national Gross Domestic Product.”

“Safe and reliable passenger rail travel through New Jersey and New York City is essential to that economic productivity,” Frelinghuysen added.

The T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee passed the bill on Tuesday.

The proposed Hudson River tunnel “is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, providing a critical link between New Jersey and New York where our regional economy contributes $3.7 trillion to the nation’s GDP,” said Lance. “This is a major win for Garden State commuters…”

The appropriations bill, along with President Donald Trump’s passage this spring of a law providing additional funds for improvements to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, brings the combined federal support for the Hudson River tunnel project to nearly $1 billion, Lance said.

Frelinghuysen noted that from 2002-2014, the number of New Jersey residents commuting to New York City grew by more than 35 percent and they’ve been “plagued by perpetual delays and decaying infrastructure” for many years.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative to our economy and to our quality of life to have safe and well-functioning transportation infrastructure,” Frelinghuysen said.

The T-HUD appropriations bill would funnel much-needed federal dollars to a variety of essential highway, air, rail and maritime programs.

In total, the FY 2018 T-HUD bill would provide $56.5 billion in discretionary spending—which is $1.1 billion below FY 2017 but $8.6 billion above the Trump administration’s budget request.