Bi-state legislation passed to establish Gateway Development Commission

June 24, 2019
New York and New Jersey were required to pass identical legislation that establishes a funding and oversight framework for the Gateway Program.

Legislation has been passed in both New Jersey and New York that would establish the Gateway Development Commission, a bi-state entity that would oversee planning, funding and construction of new rail tunnels and other projects in the Gateway Program. 

Both New Jersey and New York passed identical bills that creates a seven-member commission to oversee the Gateway project, require each state to pay 50 percent of the combined New Jersey-New York share of the project, provide for legislative oversight, set strict standards of transparency and accountability and provide gubernatorial veto powers over commission actions.

The bi-state legislation establishes the Gateway Development Commission as a partnership among New Jersey, New York State and Amtrak to oversee the planning, funding and construction of the new Hudson River rail tunnels, repair of the existing tunnels, construction of a New York Penn Station South for NJ Transit trains, the construction of the Portal North and Portal South rail bridges, replacement of the Sawtooth rail bridge, the addition of two more Northeast Corridor rail tracks between Newark and Secaucus, and construction of the Bergen Loop to enable one-seat rides on all NJ Transit trains to Manhattan.

Jerry Zaro, Chairman, Anthony R. Coscia, Vice-Chairman, and Steven M. Cohen, New York Trustee of the Gateway Program Development Corporation issued the following statement on the legislations passing in both states:

"Making GDC a bi-state commission will allow us to meet our mission of delivering Gateway and finally replacing a century old, failing, one-track-in, one-track-out rail system with modern, reliable, 21st century infrastructure to serve hundreds of thousands of daily riders and 20 percent of the nation’s GDP.

"The passage of this joint legislation puts us over a critical hurdle in moving forward with the Gateway project and should once again alleviate any concerns raised by our federal partners. It’s clear that New York, New Jersey, and Amtrak stand ready to get these projects done.

"Most vitally, the legislation will make GDC an eligible recipient for the Federal, State and local grants needed to fund our projects. In addition, it advances GDC’s role as an entity solely dedicated to overseeing the delivery of the Gateway Program and amplifying the active role of our partners in New York, New Jersey, Amtrak, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New Jersey Transit. Last, the legislation makes crystal clear the commitment of both states to funding and delivering Gateway. There simply is no room to argue that our states don’t have real ‘skin in the game.’

"During the coming period, as Commissioners are nominated and approved and the bi-state Commission is stood up to meet the language of the legislation, the Gateway Program Development Corporation will continue to coordinate and guide the work of our project partners, and the current project sponsors the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the Hudson Tunnel Project and NJ Transit for the Portal North Bridge Project, will continue advancing these projects to ensure we do all we can to move Gateway forward as quickly as possible.”     

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "The Gateway Program is the most urgent infrastructure project in the country - a comprehensive rail investment program that will improve commuter and intercity services, add needed resiliency and create new capacity for the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor. While the Trump administration has failed to take action on this vital project, this legislation - originally proposed as part of the Executive Budget - represents our steadfast commitment to getting it done."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy echoed Gov. Cuomo's thoughts on the importance of the Gateway Program and urged the Trump administration to progress the program. 

“The efforts of the New Jersey and New York Legislatures to fully stand up a bi-state commission to oversee the Gateway Program is just the first step toward ensuring its timely and efficient delivery, and I thank our legislative partners for their leadership in seeing this milestone through," said Gov. Murphy. "New Jersey’s commitment to Gateway is clear. Now it’s time to take action.” 

New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said, "We need to get Gateway moving and this legislation provides a strong framework to ensure that the project is done right. When federal funding is finally approved, we will have the right agency and people in place to plan, build and manage the largest and most important mass transit project in the nation.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.