NEW YORK - The Federal Railroad Administration’s alleged lack of action on the proposed Gateway Tunnel Project was the focus of a rally Friday by transportation activists.
The FRA missed a self-imposed deadline for an environmental impact study on the effects of the project 18 months ago, and supporters of the project say time is of the essence.
The existing North River Tunnel is over 100 years old and was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Major repairs are now needed to avoid significant service disruptions for the transit agencies that utilize it.
“What I’m concerned about is if one of the current tunnels has to be taken out of service, whether it’s a disaster or it just can’t wait any longer to be repaired the result will be absolutely devastating,” said Bruce Bergen, Chairman of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition.
Many at the rally called out the Trump Administration for not doing more to move the Gateway Project forward.
“The scuttlebutt in Washington was that Trump was holding the tunnel hostage until Senator Schumer necessitated and managed to go ahead and get enough money for his southern border wall,” said Albert Papp, Jr., Vice-President of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.
About 200,000 commuters travel along the northeast corridor daily, a number that is likely to increase as the region continues to grow.