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Congressmen Sires, Pascrell, Payne, and Senator Menendez Send a New Jersey Delegation Letter Urging the Advancement of the Hudson Tunnel Project

Jan 28, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ), Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter from the New Jersey congressional delegation to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao in support of the Hudson Tunnel Project. The letter, which included 9 Members of the New Jersey delegation, urges the Secretary to move the Project forward and not allow long delays or government shutdowns to continue affecting this critical infrastructure plan.

The Hudson Tunnel Project, which aims to replace a century-old tunnel system that serves 200,000 daily passengers, is the most urgent transportation infrastructure project in the country. However, before construction on the project can advance, DOT must approve the Project’s environmental impact review. One of the required transit agencies has completed its environmental review so, in accordance with President Trump’s “One Federal Direction” (OFD) policy, this letter joins Chairman Zaro in urging DOT to move the project forward.

“My regional colleagues and I have been advocating for repairing and upgrading the Hudson River Tunnels, which serves 200,000 daily passengers,” said Congressman Sires. “The final environmental impact statement is important and has been reviewed by federal transit agency. DOT should adhere to its commitment to eliminate duplication among agencies.”

“The New Jersey delegation has been demanding for a long time to get the Hudson River Tunnels repaired and upgraded for the 21st century,” said Rep. Pascrell. “I’m proud to continue to lead in this fight with Congressman Sires. We cannot let shutdowns and administrative delays get in the way of advancing the ball on this critical project.”

“The Hudson Tunnel project is critical to our nation and our region’s economy, mobility, and quality of life.  Our local stakeholders worked hard to deliver a thorough and timely environmental review to the Department of Transportation for its approval, but despite those good-faith efforts, that review has been languishing with DOT for nearly a year now,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  “There’s no reason for the DOT to delay this project further. We’re sitting on a transportation ticking time bomb, and we don’t have the luxury of time to waste.”

In April 2018, DOT was one of several federal agencies to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish timely processing of environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects and “eliminate duplication of effort among agencies.” On December 10, 2018, 12 days before the most recent government shutdown began, the Federal Railroad Administration completed its review of the Project’s environmental impact statement and sent it to the Federal Transit Administration for review.

The most recent shutdown shuttered the agency, putting a stop to the environmental review and preventing the Hudson Tunnel Project from advancing.