Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2019

Regional Plan Association to present Gateway Tunnel Report to Union County Freeholder Board, May 23rd 7pm

Raritan Valley Rail Coalition co-sponsors presentation, open to the public at County Freeholder Chambers in Elizabeth

UNION COUNTY, NJ—The Regional Plan Association, a non-profit public policy agency that examines various issues, will present its report: “A Preventable Crisis, The Economic and Human Costs of a Hudson River Rail Tunnel Shutdown,” on Thursday, May 23rd at 7 p.m. to the Freeholder Board prior to its public meeting.

All residents are invited to the free presentation, which will be held on the 6th floor in the Freeholder chambers at the Union County Administration Building, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth.  Residents are also allowed the opportunity to comment on the plan during the general comments portion of the regular meeting that night. Parking is available nearby at the J. Christian Bollwage parking deck.

“Union County is a rail hub, and the stakes of not investing in train service improvements are high: if the tunnels fail, Union County could suffer as much as a $1.8 billion revenue loss,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, citing the Regional Plan Association’s report. “As elected officials, it is urgent that we make our voices heard for supporting the Gateway Tunnels Project and continue to work with organizations such as the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and the Regional Plan Association toward that end.”

The Regional Plan Association’s report details the devastating impact that any extended closures of the rapidly, deteriorating 108-year-old Hudson River train tunnels would have on the regional economy, including Union County. 

From reduced home values to gridlocked roads,  the report  portrays a grim picture of what New Jersey and the region could look like if the proposed Gateway Hudson River rail-tunnel project remains unfunded.

Bruce Bergen, the Chair of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, will also be on hand to introduce the Regional Plan Association.

“The Gateway Tunnels project is a regional emergency that demands the immediate attention of the White House, and the proper funding to move forward,” said Bergen, a former Union County Freeholder. “We are thankful to partner with an agency such as the Regional Plan Association that is able to present such a concise picture of the  project and the impact of the failure to act.”

As part of her initiatives entitled “Empowering Union County” on behalf of the Freeholder Board for 2019, Chair Kowalski announced the County would take the lead on the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, a group of concerned citizens which represents 1.7 million residents along the Raritan Valley Rail line in four counties— Union, Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon Counties. 

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition was created more than two decades ago to campaign for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley Rail line. It also strongly lobbies for the creation of the Gateway Tunnels Project, a $13 billion proposal that would rebuild the Hudson Tunnels, the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, and add other significant improvements along the rails leading into New York.

For more information on the Regional Plan Association, please go to: http://www.rpa.org/

For more information on the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, please go to www.raritanvalleyrail.com

Or Social media— Facebook: www.facebook.com/raritanvalleyrail/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/rvrailcoalition

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