Why Gateway trustee feels Biden’s election could be what tunnel project needs

Zaro: ‘We are immensely hopeful that our project will, at long last, move forward’

With a new president comes new optimism. For Jerry Zaro, a trustee of the Gateway Development Corp., that means a measure of confidence that the Gateway Tunnel project will have the support of the new administration.

The project is considered the most important infrastructure project in the region in a generation — as it will build two tunnels under the Hudson River. Despite the fact the work is overdue, and that the completion is key to the area’s economic efforts moving forward, the project barely has advanced under President Donald Trump’s administration.

Zaro, a trustee on the corporation since 2018 — who served as its chairman in 2019 — is optimistic the situation will be better under President-elect Joe Biden.

“We are very hopeful,” Zaro told ROI-NJ. “The president-elect has expressed support for infrastructure projects to rebuild our nation and to create sorely needed jobs in our pandemic-ravaged economy. The Gateway project is the perfect project to accomplish both of those objectives on a large scale.

“So, we are immensely hopeful that our project will, at long last, move forward.”

There was optimism that Trump would support the project when he was elected president in 2016. After all, Trump has properties — and has worked — on both sides of the Hudson River.

Those hopes were quickly dashed as the project became a political battle — with some feeling Trump delayed the project due to a feud with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as well as the fact that neither New Jersey nor New York supported his 2016 presidential bid.

Zaro thinks the more politically experienced Biden will be more understanding of the situation. And, although the response to COVID-19 and the economy in general undoubtedly will be his top priorities, Zaro feels they will not come at the neglect of the Gateway project.

“The president-elect has deep and broad knowledge of government, both in the executive and legislative branches,” he said. “I have no doubt that he and the team he assembles will be more than up to the task of addressing a coherent and comprehensive response to the virus, healing our divisions, addressing a national infrastructure program and other economic stimulus measures.”