Poll: In wake of election, support for Gateway Program is up

By Emily Bader
New Jersey/New York | Nov 13, 2018 at 7:10 am

Unified support for the Gateway Program is up, according to a new survey conducted by the Gateway Program Development Corp.

Residents in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are overwhelmingly supporting construction of the first phase of the Gateway Program, the survey found.

The Gateway Program includes the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Tunnel projects.

The survey showed more than 85 percent of respondents think it is “very or somewhat” important to add a second rail line under the Hudson.

Also, more than 80 percent are in favor of replacing the current 107-year-old, one-track-in and -out system with modern transportation infrastructure.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • About four-fifths (80 percent) support New Jersey, New York, Amtrak and the government partnering to fund the projects;
  • Ninety percent said a new rail tunnel is important for people to get to their jobs;
  • Almost 80 percent said a new rail system would improve commuting between New Jersey and New York, and the Northeast corridor;
  • Eighty percent said a new rail tunnel will improve housing prices in the region;
  • About three-fourths (72 percent) said the Federal Government should help pay;
  • More than 60 percent said delays have gotten worse in the last 5 years;
  • More than 60 percent said they are worried about the current tunnel failing or breaking down.

“It is encouraging to see continued strong support for the Hudson Tunnel and Portal North Bridge projects,” GDC Chairman Steven M. Cohen said.  “200,000 daily passengers are relying on us to deliver a more reliable, resilient and safer experience. We have not a minute to lose.”

“A new tunnel between New York and New Jersey and a new bridge over the Hackensack River are absolute imperatives for the economic future of the Garden State,” New Jersey trustee Jerry Zaro said.  “With a nearly 4:1 return on investment projected, Gateway is a smart investment from a regional and national perspective.”

The survey also showed that general awareness of the projects’ process is lagging, although support is robust, with 20 percent of respondents having heard of the Portal North Bridge project, just over 40 percent having heard of the Hudson Tunnel project and a third saying they believe there will be no new rail tunnel in the next 10 years.

“For too long America has failed to invest in its infrastructure but we have an opportunity to change that,” Tony Coscia, GDC vice chairman, said.  “The Gateway Program is big and bold but also smart and achievable.  It’s time to pay it forward for a new generation and build 21st Century infrastructure of which America can be proud.”

The survey was conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 by SurveyMonkey. About 400 adults in New York, New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania responded.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader