Bipartisan spending bill passed this week prevents the Department of Transportation from impeding progress on Gateway Tunnel Project
WASHINGTON – This week, the Senate passed a 2020 spending bill that prevents the Department of Transportation from further stalling the Gateway tunnel project, which seeks to make critical repairs to the more than 100-year-old passage that runs along the Northeast Corridor. Transportation Secretary Chao has been repeatedly criticized for stalling the project. Restore Public Trust released the following statement in response:
“Lawmakers have urged the transportation department to move on the Gateway project,” said Lizzy Price, director of Restore Public Trust. “But the question remains, will Secretary Chao finally move the Gateway tunnel project forward — a project necessary to protect Americans’ safety? Or will she continue to stall the project, and instead keep focusing on unfairly favoring projects in Kentucky, where her husband Mitch McConnell is running for reelection?”
The Gateway tunnel is one of the nation’s most significant pieces of transportation infrastructure, carrying 200,000 passengers daily under the Hudson River. Chao’s failure to move on repairs to the tunnel, which experts have judged could fail at any time, could blow a gaping $16 billion hole in the regional economy.
From the Politico article:
The bipartisan spending deal, H.R. 1865, announced today contains $2.2 billion in discretionary highway spending, a $67 million bump for aviation safety and $5 million for DOT to beef up its expertise in advanced vehicle technology.
It also includes language preventing DOT from impeding a project seeking federal transit grants for more than 40 percent of project costs — an apparent reference to the Gateway bridge and tunnel project between New York and New Jersey. And it would stop DOT from considering federal loans — which are paid back with local dollars — to be part of the federal share of a project, temporarily resolving another key Gateway-related disagreement.