MENLO PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Phil Murphy and members of a congressional delegation toured a tunnel under the Hudson River on Monday.
They were there to urge the federal government to support plans for a new tunnel, which they say is not only vital to the region, but the nation.
Some 200,000 commuters go through the North River tunnel each day. It’s pitch black, and then you arrive at New York’s Penn Station.
On Monday, the lights were turned on to tell the tale of aging infrastructure, reported CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Murphy sat in a glass-framed train car, along with members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to see the problems up close.
“It’s pretty alarming to say the least,” Murphy said, adding the tunnel was built during the term of President Theodore Roosevelt and it’s “long past due to be updated and augmented.”
“When you see it with the lights on, you see corrosion, you see the concrete wearing out,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski.
The 108-year-old tunnel is in disrepair from years of wear and extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy. Officials fear another natural disaster could damage the tunnel even more and shut it down to travel, which would cause a commuter nightmare and economic crisis.
That’s why they say the $13 billion replacement, the Gateway Tunnel project, is vital.
“We now have a president who is not only not helping the project, he’s actually doing things to hurt and undermine our progress,” Sen. Cory Booker said.
So what are they doing to help the situation?
“The conversations, as far as I know, were productive, but we’re still sort of stuck where we were,” Murphy said.
“The governor, Port Authority, state of New York has put up real money so there’s no reason for the federal government or the administration to delay the project, not give it the highest rating it deserves,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, who called the matter a “ticking time bomb.”
Booker said he has met with Trump once to discuss the matter.
Murphy has two trips planned to Washington, DC in the coming months, but a meeting with Trump has not yet been secured.
Malinowski is hoping the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, including four members from New Jersey, will help push an infrastructure bill through.