BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT, Ombudsman
A major project this columnist has strongly supported for months has been revealed as the number one infrastructure priority of the new Trump administration!
According to documents obtained by the Kansas City Star, a daily newspaper in Kansas City, MO and then republished by other major media outlets, the Trump administration’s infrastructure consultants placed the upgrade and expansion of NYC metro area mass transit-a plan known as the Gateway Program or Gateway Project-at the top of their list of priorities.
Within a sequence of five “Ombudsman Alert” columns published by the Rockland County Times on November 24, 2016, December 1, 2016, December 8, 2016, December 29, 2016 and January 12, 2017 the RCT Ombudsman requested County Executive Ed Day, as well as State Representaives David Carlucci, Ken Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee to urge then President-Elect Donald Trump to prioritize the Gateway Project, which holds such great value for Rockland County, as well as the greater New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
County Executive Day was the first to respond to our plea and send a letter on December 19, 2016 to the then President-Elect Donald Trump urging him to prioritize the Gateway Project. Our state representatives are currently considering doing the same.
Just what does this Gateway Project have to offer our Rockland residents?
As previously stated in this column, it holds the potential to provide a “one-seat ride” on the railroad from Rockland into Manhattan, but the potential economic benefits to our residents also provides a share of the estimated 34,000 jobs that will be generated for the NY-NJ Metro Area at an average annual salary of $73,000. Our area’s home and business real estate values could also benefit from such improved access to the New York City market.
Other tri-state area projects on the list include the Champlain-Hudson Power Express underground power line connecting hydroelectric power in Canada to New York City, the long awaited phase II and III of the Second Avenue Subway extension in downtown Manhattan and Port Newark Container Terminal improvements.
The Champlain-Hudson proposal, backed by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, has caused consternation in the Town of Stony Point. The line’s proposed route would impact miles of property in the town. Federal involvement in the project could offer town officials a new opportunity to lobby for changes to the plan.
Readers are invited to address all their comments and questions to:editor@rocklandcountytimes.