Photo: Curbed NY
Since 2017 we’ve been hearing a lot about the ups and a lot of downs of the Gateway project which is supposed to include: digging a new tunnel under the Hudson river, fixing-up the existing conduits, reconstructing the Portal Bridge in New Jersey, and renovating areas of connecting rail work. Expected price tag? Approximately $30 billion.
We’d like to mention that 2017 is a key year in our blog post -- it’s when the Trump administration canceled an Obama-era agreement by which the federal government would fund half of the endeavor.
All of that seems to be taking a new and more positive turn as Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio says he will put the project in a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. That was the news given to a group from the New York press corps after a tour DeFazio took of the atrophied century-old tubes currently carrying commuters under the Hudson River. During the week of April 29th, President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer arrived at the $2 trillion figure.
"I'm writing the bill, in my committee, and it is going to include projects of national and regional significance, and we're also going to have designated spending for members of Congress," DeFazio said. "And I can guarantee this is one of the projects that will be included in those designations. This will be funded."
How will it all be funded? DeFazio said he would push to raise the federal gas tax by a penny and a half per gallon. It has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. Do you think that there will be push-back? This project is considered by many to be the most important infrastructure priority in the U.S.
Let’s keep in mind that the Portal Bridge project has received the necessary federal environmental approvals, but the proposed new tunnel has not. DeFazio thinks that all will be well and he will waive the need for such reviews in the language of the infrastructure bill. "We don't usually do that, but I find it hard to believe there's a negative environmental impact," he said. "We can just say it's deemed [done]."
Dare we add…has anyone mentioned eminent domain?