Gov. Murphy says he’s happy the federal government has signaled its support for building a new Portal Bridge by upgrading the priority rating for the project. But this is just the first in a multi-step process that must include building a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River into New York City.

The Gateway Project has been stalled for years because the Trump Administration has not agreed to kick in billions of dollars in federal funds that are needed to move it forward.

During an event in Maple Shade on Tuesday, Murphy said it is critically important to replace the century-old unreliable swing bridge that frequently slows NJ Transit Northeast Corridor and Amtrak trains heading in and out of the Big Apple because it gets stuck in the open position and must be manually closed by having a worker bang a steel spike into the track with a sledgehammer.

Murphy said he was with the president and Transportation Elaine Chao this weekend "and Gateway is the only topic I am typically bringing up with either one of them.”

“I had a constructive conversation with the president, with Secretary Chao, with a number of members of the administration over the weekend and we shall see.”

Murphy said he’s optimistic the $10.5 billion Gateway Project will soon become a reality and include “more tunnels under the Hudson (River), a fairly significant stretch under Hudson yards, and then a redesigned, re-imagined Penn Station. Those are the big buckets.”

Murphy said he’s made every effort to engender close cooperation with the Trump Administration, particularly the Department of Transportation on the Portal Bridge project, and he believes this will help propel Gateway.

“When a project is so overwhelmingly compelling, when the facts are so overwhelmingly on our side, it’s only a matter of time — unfortunately, maybe more time than any of us would like, particularly yours truly.”

He noted that Trump is familiar with the New Jersey/New York area and the logic is so overwhelming because 20% of the nation’s GDP rides over the Northeast corridor rails and it’s just unacceptable to have two tunnels that are 110 years old, and damaged at that.”

 

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.