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TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement this morning following the announcement that an agreement has been reached on the Gateway Rail Tunnel project:


“We have been pushing hard for many months to make the Gateway Rail Tunnel a priority for the Port Authority and for federal and state officials. This is a great victory. Construction of the Gateway project will spur economic growth, cut commuting times for NJ Transit riders, and help avert a commuter catastrophe that would occur if one of the existing tunnels needs to be closed for repairs before the new tunnels could be built.


“The agreement by the federal government to provide 50 percent of the funding for the Gateway Rail Tunnel project, with New York and New Jersey splitting the local share, provides a fair and equitable funding solution for this project that is critical to the nation’s and the region’s economy, for Amtrak intercity rail passengers and trans-Hudson commuters.


“Creating the Gateway Development Corporation through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bistate agency responsible for trans-Hudson transportation, is the proper decision. Setting up a four-member board made up of representatives of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Amtrak and Port Authority board members from New York and New Jersey provides the proper governance and coordination.


“Senator Cory Booker, with whom we have worked closely, deserves great credit for brokering this agreement. Meeting the transportation needs of the citizens of our two states and the nation should not be a partisan issue.”