Federal Government Must Invest in New York’s Transportation Infrastructure

New York City became the city that never sleeps in part because of its robust transportation system – and New Yorkers know better than anyone else the value of sound infrastructure. New York is a city of motion. Reliable subways, buses and commuter rail lines are the lifeblood of our economy.

The recent release of the White House’s infrastructure plan was an important first step that should now be followed by an increased focus on providing much-needed financing for our transportation networks, which are bursting at the seams.

In order for any federal infrastructure plan to fulfill its potential and propel continued economic growth, it should include funding specifically designated for essential regional projects. This also means that stakeholders across the Northeast Corridor must continue to make their voices heard in support of local and regional priorities.

Among these priorities, there is none more important for New Yorkers than the Gateway Project. REBNY is a strong and vocal supporter of this project which is crucial not only to New York, but the entire nation.

That is because New York’s importance to the national economy simply cannot be overstated: the city’s metro area created almost $1.7 trillion in economic activity during 2016, almost 10 percent of the national GDP, and by far the highest of any metro area. In large part, this economic engine is made possible thanks to the complex transportation ecosystem that helps people get to work each day throughout the five boroughs and from suburbs on all sides.

It is in this national context that the Gateway Project must be seen. The project has multiple components, but the most significant would burrow a new, two-track rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River to create an additional access point for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains to reach Manhattan.

This new tunnel would relieve stress on the existing tunnel while allowing for vital repairs. We must remember that these tunnels have been compromised since they were flooded with seawater during Superstorm Sandy and a full repair of the tunnels will require a shutdown.

Recent frustration with subway service across the city would pale in comparison to the economic shockwave that would be felt if such a shutdown were to take place without the addition of an alternative access point for trains between New York and New Jersey. Businesses would be crippled and commuters would be helpless – not to mention outraged.

This all explains why the Gateway Project has enjoyed bipartisan support at the federal, state, and local level for years. We all agree that this crucial initiative must advance.

REBNY will keep making its voice heard on this issue, and I strongly urge REBNY members to do the same at every opportunity.  The results of positive changes that benefit our transportation network and our economy will have an impact for generations to come.

I look forward to continuing the conversation around the Gateway Project and remain hopeful that we will one day see a light at the end of this particular tunnel.