NEW YORK – U.S. Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) and Peter King (NY-02) introduced a new bipartisan bill Monday demanding a contingency plan for the “Doomsday” scenario if one, or both, of the two North River Tunnels is shut down beneath the Hudson River. They also stressed the immediate need for the Gateway Tunnel.
The North River Tunnel tracks carry 200,000 travelers daily and are crumbling after damage from more than 100 years of use and flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Last week, the Regional Plan Association released “A Preventable Crisis,” a report outlining the catastrophic economic consequences of a tunnel being shut down.
The bill would require the Secretary of Transportation to publish a report within 60 days that details the Department of Transportation’s contingency plan in the case of a track shutdown.
“Today, Congressman King and I are introducing legislation to force the Administration to give answers for their ‘Doomsday Plan,’” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05). “Our bill will demand answers from the Department of Transportation on, if a tunnel goes down, how will the economy work? How will people get into the city and back home? What is their contingency plan?”
“These tunnels are a vital and irreplaceable conduit for our nation’s economy. Ensuring its maintenance, safety and reliability is a national concern and responsibility. It is too precarious a situation for human lives and economic devastation. A plan and answer is needed,” said Congressman Peter King (NY-02).
“We are very grateful to Congressman King and Gottheimer for the leadership, which they have extended during this process and also for the new legislation, which I have dubbed ‘Plan B,’ and to thank them also for the example they have set in demonstrating that bipartisan cooperation is alive and well,” Jerry Zaro, Chairman of Gateway Development Corporation, said, “We have to believe that they must know something we don’t, in Washington. Because otherwise, a responsible government could not leave this project unfunded.”
Steve Cohen, Vice-President of the Gateway Development Corporation, “When we look at Gateway, I think we can all agree that it’s among the most, if not the most important infrastructure project that is currently facing the country, and the question we’re always asked — because of the political realities we’re all facing — is how does something like this get done? How do you get traction in Washington? And the answer is the two gentlemen to my right and left [King and Gottheimer]. It has been an extraordinary experience to work with people who understand that the most important thing if you’re representing the people of this country is to put political differences aside and focus on what needs to be done. This project needs to be done.”