Senate approves measure backing Hudson rail project
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Senate unanimously approved a proposal Thursday from Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York to build a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River.
The Senate voted 38-0 for a resolution backing the proposal described in a letter to President Barack Obama from the governors, who are seeking a federal grant to fund half the cost of the roughly $20 billion project. The two states and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would split the balance.
The resolution calls for designating the Port Authority, which oversees the region's airports, bridges, ports and tunnels, as the lead agency on the so-called Gateway project.
Lawmakers said the resolution reflects their consensus that the 105-year rail tunnel is a critical project that needs to be addressed. They said they were encouraged that members of both parties and officials from both states are working together to get the project going.
"The efforts from the very beginning have been bipartisan in nature," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr.
But what remains unclear is whether the federal government will go along with the proposal and how much money each state and the Port Authority would have to divvy up.
Also Thursday, the Senate oversight committee reviewed a measure to overhaul the Port Authority. The measure, which New York legislators have passed, would create a rotating chairmanship, among other organizational changes.
Democratic New Jersey Sens. Bob Gordon and Loretta Weinberg said they want any changes to include greater oversight authority for lawmakers.
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