The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has withdrawn from the group overseeing the Gateway Program, the massive regional project that aims to double rail capacity between New York and New Jersey.
Billed as the largest and most important transit project in the northeast, the $23.9 billion Gateway Program aims to dig a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, expand Penn Station, and build new bridges to better connect Newark, New Jersey, and New York City.
In a Friday letter to the group, the Gateway Development Corporation, the U.S. DOT’s Acting General Counsel Judith Kaleta announced that the U.S. DOT would “permanently withdraw” from the corporation, which was established in 2015 and is also composed of Amtrak and board members from the Port Authority representing New York and New Jersey.
A U.S. DOT spokesman elaborated in a statement that the federal agency decided to leave the corporation “as a procedural matter to avoid potential conflicts” and to ensure “there is no appearance of prejudice or partiality in favor of these projects ahead of hundreds of other projects nationwide.” It is not indicative of the federal government’s support of the project, the spokesman said.
The Gateway Program would address the growing number of commuters entering the city from New Jersey as well as some of the region’s deteriorating infrastructure. The current, two-tube tunnel under the Hudson that serves about 200,000 riders each day was badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy. If one tube fails before a new tunnel is built, capacity in the tunnel would be reduced by 75%, according to Amtrak.
Source: am New York