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U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg Delivers Remarks Celebrating $11 Billion Investment in Hudson Tunnel Project – New York, NY

Monday, July 8, 2024
"Deputy Secretary Trottenberg speaks at event celebrating $11B investment in the Hudson Tunnel Project"
Deputy Secretary Trottenberg speaks at event celebrating $11B investment in the Hudson Tunnel Project

NEW YORK, NY. – Today, U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg joined state and local leaders from New York and New Jersey to celebrate the announcement of $11 billion, a mix of grants and financing, from the Biden-Harris Administration for the Hudson Tunnel Project, which will construct a critical new rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey along a vital economic corridor.  

The full transcript of Deputy Secretary Trottenberg’s remarks is below:       

Thank you. It’s a wonderful day. It is so wonderful to be here, home, in my happy place in New York City —– on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Buttigieg, and all of us at the U.S. Department of Transportation, as we celebrate a moment for the Gateway Project that I think many of us have been anticipating for years. 

I know we’ve done a lot of thank yous here today, we’ll try and keep mine quick, but of course I do want to thank a few people again. Of course, starting with Senate Majority Leader, my old boss, Chuck Schumer, who — as everyone said — was the driving force for so many years on this project; Senator Booker; Congressman Nadler, Congressman Menendez; and the delegations from both New York and New Jersey.  

The two extraordinary governors — and I think a lot of us, as Chairman Coscia was saying, I think a lot of us in our roles throughout the years have worked with a lot of governors across the Hudson River — and Governors Hochul and Murphy have one of the most extraordinary partnerships. They have stepped up every step of the way on this project. It has been great for their states, it has been great for the region, and it’s been great for the country. Thank you, governors. 

Let me also share in the praise of Kris Kolluri and the amazing team at the Gateway Development Commission. In two short years, what they have accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. The team spirit, the drive to get things done, the problem-solving, it’s second to none. 

I like being by the heliport. We’ll let this helicopter land. I’m glad I’m not wearing my FAA hat today. You all would be yelling at me. 

Thank you, Kris, and thank you to the Gateway Development Commission Board. I know we have some board members here, including Co-Chair Alisha Glen, my former Deputy Mayor in the de Blasio Administration. We have a current Deputy Mayor, Meera Joshi, here. Thank you, Amtrak Chair Tony Coscia and CEO Stephen Gardener. Thank you, New Jersey Transit President Kevin Corbett, and of course Port Authority Executive Rick Cotton and Chairman Kevin O’Toole. And again, thank you again to the labor leaders and all the other folks in this room who have supported this project for so many years. 

You’ve heard the praise of my colleagues, Veronica Vanterpool, our acting FTA Administrator. We started working together on the MTA Board so many years ago, little did I know we would be here today together. Our FRA Administrator Amit Bose and Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell. The head of our Build America Bureau, Morteza Farajian. There’s so many others.  

I have other DOT colleagues, past and present in the audience, thank you all. This has truly been an incredible team effort. 

And I want to make sure I thank the workers who are going to be building this incredible project with union labor.  

This is going to be one of the most complex and important public works in American history, as you’ve heard. So, thank you to the workers who are going to get the job done, and the contractors and small businesses that are going to support them. 

I won’t repeat — you all have heard about the significance of this project for the New York-New Jersey region, for the Northeast Corridor, and the national economy. And look, for many of us who work and live in this region, this project is personal. I know probably everyone sitting around here has been through that tunnel hundreds if not thousands of times — and maybe gotten stuck in it a few times as well.  

And like a lot of you, I too, back in the Obama Administration, had the heartbreaking experience of watching the previous New Jersey governor cancel the original project. It was such a frustrating moment. 

And, by the way, I do want to give a special shoutout to Stephen Gardener, who is someone who really kept this project alive and re-envisioned it, even when the path did not look so certain.  

I also want to thank a previous USDOT Secretary, Ray LaHood, who made a very wise decision to take $400 million of Sandy funds and put them – it seemed like there was a lot of internal discussion about it – but to ensure that there would be a viable tunnel alignment under the Hudson Yards, right over yonder. 
He did it even not knowing where the funds for the tunnel were going to come from. But knowing that this was something we needed to do for future generations. 

And as you heard, we all watched a previous administration drag their heels on this project, all the while racking up costs and delaying this important work. But now, and I think you’ve heard from every speaker today. 

And I will add as soon as this next helicopter lands – now, I have to say, the stars have truly aligned. 

With all the extraordinary and committed leaders you see in this audience today, an administration, and a President – you’ve heard a lot of praise about him, he really is Amtrak Joe – and I’m proud to say, we are all-in from the top to the bottom. We’re all-in on the funding and all the support that’s needed to build this project of such national significance. 

As you will know, in January of 2023, the President was here himself to celebrate a MEGA grant for the tunnel work at Hudson Yards. In early November, Secretary Buttigieg was here on this side of the Hudson to break ground on that project. I had the honor later that month to be on the other side of the Hudson with Governor Murphy kicking off the Tonnelle Avenue bridge. 

But today, we are here for the biggest milestone of all – it brings a little bit of a tear to my eye.  

We signed the Full Funding Grant Agreement that will mean the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering over $11 billion to the Hudson Tunnel and announcing another $4.1 billion in loans. And that means that this project, after nearly 20 years of talk and plan and hopes and dreams, is becoming a reality. 

We are going to build this tunnel, as I swear by this enormous earth-moving machine behind me. 

I will again just close saying, this is because of President Biden.  

He really has taken this project to his heart, with his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and his determination that our country can still do big things. Of course, it also happened, I will be remiss in not saying also, Senator Chuck Schumer, who’s never let up on his relentless advocacy on this project. 

So today is a great today to savor and celebrate.  

On behalf of the United States Department of Transportation, Secretary Buttigieg, and the Biden-Harris Administration, I want to again thank all the leaders here today who are going to deliver this project.  

We at USDOT are going to be your partners every step of the way.  

We look forward to celebrating many more milestones. 

And ultimately, I can picture a beautiful Hudson River Tunnel delivering us all into the Moynihan Train Hall.  

And I hope everyone here today will take pride in knowing that you will have a hand in making that vision become a reality for generations to come. I know I will. 

Thank you so much.