Booker Statement on Gateway Funding in Federal Spending Bill

Live-stream video of the Cory Booker 2020 presidential campaign kickoff rally at Newark’s Military Park.

Booker Statement on Gateway Funding in Federal Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement on funding for the Gateway Program included in the FY18 omnibus spending bill signed into law today:

“I am pleased that, despite strong headwinds from President Trump, we were able to secure a bipartisan funding agreement in Congress that will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in desperately needed funding to the Gateway Program. Even with today’s important step forward there remains a long road ahead, and we must keep up the fight. We all know the critical role infrastructure investment serves in creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and ensuring our region and nation remain globally competitive.  Gateway serves an additionally critical role of ensuring the safety of our region’s commuters.

“Commuters in New Jersey and across our region feel the pain inflicted by the government’s failure to invest in our infrastructure. Just last week, the century-old Portal Bridge — a critical part of the Northeast Corridor line upon which tens of thousands of daily commuters rely – experienced yet another serious malfunction that caused major delays to ripple throughout several states in the Northeast.  Delays caused by aging infrastructure like the Portal Bridge not only keep families apart, but they threaten the economic strength of our entire region.

“I applaud Senator Schumer and Congressman Frelinghuysen for their steadfast determination to reach a bipartisan agreement and look forward to continuing my work with them and all of our partners in keeping this critical project on the right track so we can provide commuters the relief they desperately need and the peace of mind they deserve.”

In helping to jumpstart the Gateway Program, in August 2015 Sen. Booker convened a meeting in his office with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), then-Gov. Chris Christie, and then-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to discuss governance and funding for Gateway.

Coming out of that meeting, in November 2016 the Senators and Governors from New York and New Jersey joined in announcing they reached an agreement on funding commitments and a governance structure that will allow the Gateway Tunnel Project to move forward.

As part of Sen. Booker’s ongoing commitment to moving the Gateway Program forward, in December 2015 he was joined by Menendez and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in announcing provisions benefiting Gateway were included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the first Federal law in over ten years to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation.

Sen. Booker fought to have several key provisions incorporated into the FAST Act to help provide reliable funding sources for the Gateway Program.  These include measures enabling Amtrak for the first time to reinvest revenue from the Northeast Corridor back into the Northeast Corridor and allowing more flexibility in financing for vital infrastructure projects like Gateway by permitting repayment of federal Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans 35 years from project completion.

Last April, Booker, Menendez, Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao to visit the century-old rail infrastructure connecting New Jersey and New York, including the trans-Hudson tunnels and Portal Bridge, to see firsthand the critical need for robust investment in our region’s rail and transit infrastructure.

In October, Booker joined Menendez, Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia, and other Gateway partners in breaking ground on $20 million worth of early work activities on Portal Bridge.

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