NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie met with state and federal transportation officials Tuesday to discuss plans to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
The meeting about the proposed Amtrak Gateway project at Sen. Cory Booker’s office in Newark included the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Groping Women In Rutherford, N.J., Including Mother Pushing Child In Stroller
Christie, Foxx, Menendez and Booker issued a joint statement following the meeting:
Transit across the Hudson River carries an enormous and increasing share of this region’s workforce and economy, and it is clear that something must be done, and done now, as commuters continue to endure serious daily challenges that come with an aging infrastructure.
We had a substantive and productive meeting today and all of us are committed to working together on a path forward on this critical project. Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Governor Christie will work with Secretary Foxx to obtain a substantial Federal grant contribution toward the Hudson River tunnels. In addition to grants, we will also work on other funding and financing options.
The state of New Jersey supports the Gateway project and is committed to developing a framework with the Federal government to begin it. We all recognize that the only way forward is equitable distribution of funding responsibility and the active participation of all parties. As commuters can attest, we cannot afford further delay.
CBS2’s Christine Sloan tried to ask the governor about the meeting. He referred her to the statement. Remember, Christie canceled the last tunnel project, portraying himself as a cost-cutting governor.
On Tuesday, when asked about this new tunnel project, which is critical to many commuters, his answer on camera was “I showed up today, didn’t I?” Sloan reported.
Foxx invited Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to meet with him after last month’s electrical failures in the existing, 105-year-old tunnel caused several days of delays for NJ TRANSIT riders.
Cuomo didn’t attend and said last week that it was premature to hold a meeting on the tunnel.
On Tuesday, however, Cuomo’s office seemingly backtracked, saying they had not been invited to the meeting. They did not immediately respond when asked whether they would have sent a representative.
Later in the afternoon, Cuomo issued the following statement:
For the past several weeks there has been much discussion about building a new cross Hudson tunnel. I am excited by the dialogue, and I am encouraged by the positive statement issued following today’s meeting held by Senator Booker for the New Jersey delegation and the federal government. It appears all parties are on the same page: the key to moving forward is obtaining federal grant support for the project.
Senator Schumer was correct last week when he called for the federal government to recognize the tunnel as a national priority and stated that the federal government must contribute the “maximum amount possible” to its construction.
I think we all recognize the need to make up for years of discussions that did not produce tangible forward progress. I believe deeply in the need for this country and my state and region to invest in new infrastructure to maintain our economic prowess, and I stand ready to expedite any and all state processes to move this project forward. We in New York have invested in major road reconstruction, undertaken the largest single bridge project in the country in decades with the Tappan Zee Bridge and announced the only total reconstruction of a major airport in the country today.
In the same vein, I strongly support the construction of the new Hudson River tunnel – and a federal grant package that makes the project viable is an essential first step.READ MORE: Kimberly Druhan, Baltimore Woman Last Seen In Brooklyn, Found After Search