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Congressmen Gottheimer, King Call For 'Doomsday' Plan In Event Of North River Tunnel Failure

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Pressure is mounting on the federal government to help fund the Gateway Project, which would create a new two-track Hudson River tunnel to replace the current crumbling ones.

But as time goes by some officials are warning that the situation is becoming more dire. A so-called "Doomsday" bill has been introduced in the event the old tunnels, which carry Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains, have to be shut down without new ones in place, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Thursday.

This past fall New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the North River tunnels. Both are more than 100 years old and deteriorating from age and damage sustained during flooding from Superstorm Sandy.

Afterwards, the governor met with President Donald Trump about the Gateway Project and at the time called it a positive meeting with another one to come.

But since then, there hasn't been much.

MORETrump's Recent Comments Renew Hope For Gateway Project

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Congressmen Josh Gottheimer and Peter King announced their new bill to demand an economic estimate and contingency plan for the "doomsday" scenario where one of the two North River Tunnels must be shut down beneath the Hudson River. (credit: Matt Fried/Rep. Gottheimer's Office)

Earlier this week, the Regional Plan Association, a non-profit civic organization, put out a report titled "A Preventable Crisis," how a shutdown of the current tunnels without a new tunnel in place would affect the economy and human health.

A Preventable Crisis: The Economic and Human Costs of a Hudson River Rail Tunnel Shutdown

Calling it's findings grim, the report found it would cost the national economy $16 billion, reduce home values by $22 billion, lead to decreased economic productivity, job losses, increased congestion and more car crashes across the northeastern United States.

"The reality is New York City is an island and the regional economy depends on the 200,000 people moving back and forth every day from my state into New York City," New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer said.

MORE: CBS2 Demands Answers From New Jersey Leaders On Their Plan To Address Ancient Hudson River Tunnel

On Thursday, Gottheimer, a Democrat, and New York Rep. Peter King, a Republican, announced a new bill. They want to force the Trump administration to tell them what its doomsday plan would be.

"Since they're standing in the way of the Gateway Project being built, I assume they know something that we don't about how to deal with the inevitable failure of the system if these tunnels go down," Gottheimer said.

"I don't think there's that many geniuses down there. That's why it's so important we put them on notice that we're not going to sit back quietly," King added. "Either they put up or shut up. Either they come up with a plan to show how they're going to work around this or they get started with this project, release the money and stop slow-walking it."

If passed, the bill would require the secretary of transportation to publish a report within 60 days that explains the effects to the country's economy if one of the rail tracks fails, and their Plan B in case of a shutdown.

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