Nearly six years ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled the Access to the Region’s Core rail tunnel project. Cross-Hudson capacity was cramped then, and it’s only gotten worse. Meanwhile, the Gateway Project, a $24 billion plan to build another set of tunnels under the Hudson won’t be completed until 2030.
Common Good, a nonpartisan reform coalition, recently released an animated video emphasizing the advantages of accelerating the Gateway project by expediting the permit approval process. Such red tape could delay the project, costing taxpayers upwards of $13 billion.
Gateway will double rail capacity and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, while producing roughly $9 billion in economic activity and reducing transportation-related carbon emissions by more than 180,000 tons every year. Should one of the tunnels fail before the new set is complete, roughly 72,000 commuters will be stranded, many of whom may opt to drive, further exacerbating congestion and air pollution.
Common Good suggested solutions to leap-frog potential delays in a related report released earlier this year, including appointing a project czar, exempting Gateway from various permit and review requirements and securing an executive order from President Obama.