Message from Business Manager Chris Erikson
According to Wikipedia, and I urge you to google it, the Gateway Program (originally called the Gateway Project) is the planned phased expansion and renovation of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail line between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. The right-of-way runs between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. The project would build new rail bridges in the New Jersey Meadowlands and new tunnels under Bergen Hill (Hudson Palisades) and the Hudson River, along with fully rehabilitating the existing tunnel built in 1910 and constructing a new terminal annex.
The project was originally announced 12 years ago and some work started in 2011. It was back in 1995, though, when the Port Authority, NJ Transit, and the MTA envisioned major rail improvements in NYC and better connections in Midtown between Penn Station and Grand Central Station, the result of which was a new Moynihan Station and East Side Access, both operational now and tons of work for our members. In July 2017, the projected cost for the new tunnels under the Hudson River and for the repair of the North River Tunnels badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy increased to $12.9 billion, up from a previous estimate of $7 to $10 billion. It is currently estimated to cost $16.1 billion. Trump opposed the project and actually cut the funding.
With the inauguration of Joe Biden as U.S. President in January 2021, discussion resumed on the Gateway Program. Chuck Schumer, who had become the Senate majority leader, said that month that he was working with Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary in Biden's administration, to allocate $12 billion to the project. Buttigieg supported the project, saying, "This is a regional issue, but one of national significance." Another gift from the most pro-union President ever, delivered. Biden will be in New York City tomorrow touting this project. To Majority Leader Schumer, who’s been all in, and to President Joe Biden, a heartfelt thank you very much for the badly needed work opportunity for the IBEW. Well done.
Image courtesy of the Gateway Development Commission.