FULL REMARKS AS PREPARED:
Thank you Mr. Speaker,
I rise in support of H.R.267 and I urge my colleagues to come together to re-open a vital part of our government, and to support this straightforward, bipartisan transportation bill. It is a down payment on reducing our nation-wide, dangerous infrastructure problems.
It provides $650 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, the most heavily used passenger rail line in the nation, $2.8 billion for the federal railroad administration, and $800 million in new Transit Infrastructure Grants. This is the least we can do to begin to get our government open and Americans back to work.
Congress is four months behind on paying our transportation bills. We cannot move forward on our larger infrastructure investment needs, like Gateway, without this first step.
Gateway is the most vital infrastructure project in our nation. The century-old Hudson river tunnel connects 200,000 commuters every day from New Jersey and New York. Amtrak uses it to connect 20 train routes across the country. This tunnel is the Achilles heel of the Northeast Rail Corridor and was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. A collapse of the tunnel could injure thousands and cost our economy an estimated $100 million dollars a day.
But just as important to my constituents, every delay, every deferred decision on Gateway, means a hard-working parent not making it home to see his or her family.
The proposal for Gateway was submitted to the DOT over a year ago. Secretary Chao needs to put the funds already approved by Congress to work.
New transit, trains, and tunnels are exactly the type of infrastructure projects our country needs to build a strong future.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the Subcommittee Chairman for being focused on America’s transportation priorities and allowing the voice of the people of the 11th District of New Jersey to be heard today.
Thank you, and I yield back the balance of my time.