GATEWAY’S MISSED DEADLINE

The Gateway Project, the effort to replace the rail and tunnel system connecting Manhattan with New Jersey, missed an important environmental review deadline. What does this mean for the proposed tunnel? We have the details.

Aired on May 09, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> THE GATEWAY PROJECT PROPOSES ADDING AN ADDITIONAL TUNNEL UNDER THE HUDSON RIVER LEPGING NEW JERSEY AND MANHATTAN, WHICH MOST EXPERTS BELIEVE IS CRITICAL TO THE REGION'S ECONOMY.

BUT IT CONTINUES TO STALL.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN OPENLY AGAINST THE PROJECT AND HAS TAKEN MEASURES TO KEEP THE MENTION OF GATEWAY OUT OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED ON MARCH 23rd.

COMMON GUARD A NON-PARTISAN REFORM COALITION ESTIMATES THAT A ONE-YEAR DELAY ON BREAKING GROUND COULD CAST COST THE TROOI STATE $1.6 BILLION AND WASTE APPROXIMATELY 366,000 TONS OF KASHDS.

ON APRIL 1st THE PROGRAM MISSED A DEADLINE TO OBTAIN FEDERAL APPROVAL FOR THE IMPACT STUDY.

WITHOUT THE APPROVAL THE PLANNERS SAY THEY CAN'T SECURE FEDERAL FUNDING TO BREAK GROUND.

TO DISCUSS THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IS PHILLIP K HOWARD WELCOME.

NICE TO BE WITH YOU.

ALL RIGHT SO WE ARE WELL PAST SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINE ON THIS VARMTLE IMPACT STUDY.

WHAT HAPPENED?

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS HOLDING IT UP.

IT'S READY TO GO.

I MEAN THERE WAS A DEAL -- THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE STATES, NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK WOULD SPLIT THE COST 50/50.

IT WAS A DEAL WITH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND THEN TRUMP REAFFIRMED THE DEAL AFTER HE WAS ELECTED.

BUT NOW THEY'VE CHANGED THEIR MIND FOR REASONS WE DON'T KNOW FOR CERTAIN.

AND SO THIS CRITICAL PROJECT, ERR RESPONSIBLY IN MY VIEW, IS BEING HELD UP FOR IT SEEMS POLITICAL REASONS.

WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT ALWAYS MAKES ME FEEL SO CONCERNED AS A COMMUTER INTO THE CITY IS THAT A LOT OF TIMES WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE TUNNELS AND THE FACT THAT THEY NEED TO REPLACED AND THEY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED THERE IS A REFERENCE TO HURRICANE SANDY.

AND THE MORE WE REFERENCE IT THE FURTHER BACK IN TIMES IT GOES.

WHICH MEANS THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE NEXT DAMAGING DEVASTATING STORM INCREASES.

WHAT HAPPENS?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE DELAYS?

THERE ARE -- THERE ARE TWO 100-YEAR-OLD RAIL TUNNELS INTO NEW JERSEY AND THEY'RE DAMAGED AND IN FRAGILE SHAPE.

WHENEVER THEY CLOSE DOWN FOR REPAIRS IT CAUSES 25 MILES OF GRID LOCK.

IF WE GET ANOTHER STORM BEFORE THE NEW TUNNELS ARE BUILT IT WILL BE GRID LOCK FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO FIX THE TUNNELS.

IS THERE ANY WAY PERHAPS TO GET ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS LIKE YOURS TO BEGIN SOME SORT OF WORK WORK AROUND.

?

IS THERE A WAY TO GET THE FEDERAL FUNDING SECURED IS SO IT CAN HAPPEN.

MAYBE.

CONGRESS NOTWITHSTANDING THE OPPOSITION INCLUDED $$541 MILLION IN THE BUDGET EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN'T MENTION GATEWAY IT'S FOR GATEWAY.

UM-HUM.

SO THEY CAN GET STARTED ON PIECES RIGHT NOW.

BUT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT JUST THE TUNNEL ALONE AND RELATED IMPROVEMENTS ARE $13 BILLION.

SO HOLDING UP THE APPROVAL OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW, WHICH WAS FINISHED IN RECORD TIME, IN ORDER TO MEET THIS REALLY DRAMATIC PUBLIC NEED TO GET THESE TUNNELS STARTED AND BUILT BEFORE THE OLD ONES HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN AGAIN, IS -- YOU KNOW IT'S -- WE'RE IN IN ABEYANCE.

NOTHING CAN HAPPEN UNTIL THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RELEASES THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS.

WELL, IS THERE ANY WAY THE PUBLIC CAN GO TO LEARN WHAT IT WAS THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION WAS ABLE TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?

LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT $366,000 TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE NUMBER.

INCREDIBLY ENVIRONMENTAL UNRESPONSIBLE NOT TO GO FORWARD AND ECONOMICALLY NOT RESPONSIBLEABLE.

OVER $1.5 BILLION IN DAMAGES FROM ONE YEAR DELAY.

YES GO TO KEVON GOOD DORG WE HAVE THE ANALYSIS AND NUMBERS WOK OUD AND HAVE STUDIES THAT ARE GENERALLY AGREED UPON BY EVERYONE SORT OF WORKING IN THIS AREA.

IT'S -- IT'S A COMPELLING CASE TO GET THIS PROJECT STARTED RIGHT NOW.

IT'S GOOD FOR THE NATION.

NEW YORK CITY HAPPENS TO BE THE COMMERCIAL CAPITAL NOT ONLY OF THE NATION BUT OF THE WORLD.

HAVING IT IN GRID LOCK IS ACTUALLY A BAD IDEA FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

NEW YORK STATE HAPPENS TO CONTRIBUTE IN FEDERAL TAXES MUCH MORE THAN IT GETS BACK.

HOLDING UP MONIES ALLEGEDLY TO SAVE MONEY FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN A WAY THAT MIGHT CRIPPLE THE NEW YORK REGION IS NOT REASONABLE ON ANY ANALYSIS.

ALL RIGHT SO I GUESS WE HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE IF THIS -- AT LEAST THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS DONE CAN BECOME SOME SORT OF ISSUE FOR THE COMING MIDTERM ELECTIONS.

WELL, RIGHT.

WE WERE -- WE WERE IMPORTANT IN PROMPTING THE -- THE EXPEDITING THOSE REVIEWS.

WE DIDN'T DO THEM.

CORRECT.

BUT YES, THEY ARE DONE.

AND THEY SHOW THE COMPELLING CASE FOR DOING THIS PROJECT RIGHT NOW THE WAY THEY PLAN TO DO IT.

SO WHAT WE NEED IS PUBLIC SUPPORT AND OUTRAGE THAT THIS PROJECT IS BEING HELD UP FOR UNCLEAR POLITICAL REASONS.

I THINK THREATS OF GRID LOCK AND HUGE THOUSANDS OF TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE JUST MIGHT DO THAT.

LISTEN, PHILLIP, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

AS GRIM AS THE NEWS WAS YOU SHARED, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE ALL KNOW.

NICE TO BE WITH YOU.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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