Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
LaHood: Gateway Tunnel "Absolutely Critical" To NY/NJ Region
Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 12:23 PM
DOT head Ray LaHood threw in a plug for a trans-Hudson rail crossing known as the Gateway Tunnel.
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) -- a longtime booster of a new trans-Hudson rail crossing between New Jersey and New York City -- was questioning the secretary at Thursday's Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Department of Transportation's budget. Lautenberg asked LaHood: "You've looked at this proposal many times. What impact might the Gateway Tunnel project have on mobility and the economy of the Northeast Corridor?"
LaHood's response: “We are working with both New Jersey and New York. We know this tunnel is absolutely critical and we will continue our work. Look, if this is the priority for the region, then it becomes a priority for us.”
The Gateway Tunnel, which would boost capacity for both Amtrak and NJ Transit, was proposed last year as an alternative to the ARC tunnel -- which NJ Governor Christie cancelled in October 2010. In November 2011, the Senate approved $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway project.
You can watch the video of Thursday''s exchange below.