Letter to the Editor: OPEN LETTER TO MTA CHAIRMAN FROM HUDSON VALLEY LAWMAKERS

Dear Hon. Fernando Ferrer,

Thank you for your service on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board and dedication toward improving the quality of life of the countless passengers that use the many services offered. In that vein, we the undersigned – eight of the New York State Assembly Members and Senators representing Orange and Rockland Counties – are formally requesting the MTA’s strong support for the proposed Gateway Project, including the vital Secaucus Junction Loop.

As you know, Orange and Rockland Counties are serviced by an agreement between New Jersey Transit and Metro-North, the latter of which is run by the MTA. This partnership has worked well in the past, particularly since Secaucus Junction made trips into New York Penn Station possible. Now, however, the specter of a one-seat ride into Manhattan has been recently resurrected – a prospect that was disappointingly dashed when Governor Christie balked at the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Project.

Transportation in our region is critical not only for the thousands of commuters that travel to New York City everyday, but to individuals, families, and businesses who use the rails for personal and business trips into the five boroughs. We in Orange and Rockland Counties are at a severe disadvantage to our counterparts on the east side of the Hudson River – a disadvantage that trickles down to the increased difficulty we face attracting residents and businesses alike to make our counties their home. An untold amount of economic development would be possible with a one-seat ride into the city.

It is our understanding that Amtrak will be seeking financial support for the Gateway Project and Secaucus Junction Loop. We implore the MTA to make funds available, just as it did during construction of Secaucus Junction, to ensure that this critically important project becomes a reality. Putting aside that Orange and Rockland Counties cannot continue to operate at a severe disadvantage to others in the Metro-North system, we believe any funds allocated would be a wise investment that will reap tremendous benefit both to Metro-North’s ridership and the communities it serves.

Last but certainly not least, we stand prepared to assist in any way possible in state government to ensure the progress and completion of the Gateway Project and accompanying loop. If we may be of any assistance going forward, please do not hesitate to contact any of us who have signed below.

We would truly appreciate your due consideration of the transportation needs we have in Orange and Rockland Counties as well as the critical importance of this project in serving those needs. Please advise us at your earliest convenience of MTA’s feelings and early intentions towards the Gateway Project and, specifically, the Secaucus Junction Loop.

Sincerely,

James Skoufis
Ken Zebrowski
Ellen Jaffee
Annie Rabbitt
Aileen Gunther
Claudia Tenney
Frank Skartados
Members of Assembly
David Carlucci
Senator, 38th District