In a letter sent on Monday to United States Secretary of Transportation Elain Chao, a bipartisan group of Congressional Representatives, led by New Jersey Congressman Tom Malinowski, called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to finalize and publish the Hudson Tunnel Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will allow the critical Gateway Project to finally move forward.
Other signers of the letter are New Jersey Representatives Bill Pascrell, Frank Pallone, Donald Payne, Jr., Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Andy Kim, Jeff Van Drew, Donald Norcross, and Josh Gottheimer. They were joined by Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Thomas R. Suozzi, Eliot L. Engel, Jerrold Nadler, Peter T. King, Antonio Delgado, Max Rose, Kathleen M. Rice, Nydia M. Velázquez, Grace Meng, Carolyn B. Maloney, and Lee Zeldin.
Eleven months have now passed since DOT’s original deadline for the review, and all deadline and status dates have been removed from government dashboards. The average length of time for a final EIS report to be published is five months.
"Without the completed EIS, the construction phase cannot move forward, impeding job creation and increasing the likelihood that a catastrophic failure of the existing tunnel will occur before construction of the new tunnel is complete," the letter states.
Noting the age and condition of the tunnels now in use, the letter continues, ‘’If the tunnel were to collapse or becoming structurally unsound, it would endanger public safety and devastate the U.S. economy … The Gateway Project is vital and there is no justification for placing artificial and unnecessary roadblocks in its path, including delaying the EIS.”
The existing North River tunnels, which carry some 200,000 passengers each day between New York and New Jersey, are more than a century old and nearing the end of their useful life. At least one tube will need to be taken out of service in coming years for repairs, a development that would reduce capacity by 75%.
U.S. DOT has given no clear indication of when the final impact statement will be ready.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x121.