GORDON: GATEWAY TUNNEL PROJECT FALLS WITHIN PORT AUTHORITY’S MISSION

Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, the Chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, asks a question during the Committee’s hearing on halfway houses in New Jersey.

TRENTON – Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen-Passaic), chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, today issued the following statement through a spokesman:

“Tomorrow, the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee is holding its second hearing on our Port Authority legislation and on priorities for the Port Authority’s revised 10-year capital plan, which transportation experts who testified at our September 10 hearing unanimously agreed should include the Gateway rail tunnel and a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.

“Construction of a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel clearly falls within the core transportation mission to which the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has rededicated itself. The 1921 Compact that created the Port Authority gave it the power ‘ to purchase, construct, lease and/or operate any terminal or transportation facility ‘ within the Port’ district, which includes the entire $20 billion Gateway project — the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, the rail lines between Newark and Secaucus, the new trans-Hudson rail tunnel and Penn Station in Manhattan.

“The state Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a resolution urging the federal government to adopt the proposal advanced by Governors Christie and Cuomo to split the $20 billion cost of the Gateway project on a 50-50 basis with the Port Authority as the lead agency.

“Both the Port Authority reform bill that Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and I are sponsoring and the measure that was approved by the New York Legislature include identical language establishing that ‘the Port Authority’s mission is to meet the critical infrastructure needs of the bistate region’s people, businesses, and visitors by providing the highest quality and most efficient transportation and port commerce facilities and services to move people and goods within the region.’ The Gateway project clearly is covered under that language.

“If further legislative language is needed to clarify the Port Authority’s lead role in Gateway, we are confident that the governors and legislatures of New Jersey and New York will quickly pass any needed legislation when a final agreement is reached.”