The Gateway program currently in federal approval and funding limbo is critical to New Jersey and specifically critical to West Windsor, meriting our local advocacy and support.

The program would provide for a new Hudson River rail tunnel. In the short term, this would allow the existing tunnels, which are over 100 years old, to be repaired and in the long term this would provide higher capacity and better service.

Why the urgency? If there are any issues or failures with the existing tunnels before a new tunnel is complete, New Jersey Transit would grind to a halt and the impact on our commuter town economy and residents would be enormous.

According to a recent report by the Regional Plan Association, such a transit shutdown would cost New Jersey $4.5 billion in tax revenue over 4 years and more important to West Windsor, reduce home values in areas near train stations by 6 percent.

West Windsor is a town rich with local commerce and opportunities to grow our own business community. Still, we also live in a town that houses one of the most trafficked train stations in the state.

Relative to our neighboring towns we have a higher proportion of commuters and the viability of a reasonable commute into New York City impacts our housing values, local commerce and more.

Many dismiss the needs for these tunnels arguing that funds could be better spent elsewhere; others conflate this issue with unrelated transportation and commuting issues like tax reciprocity.

These attitudes ignore the disastrous impact to our state should the Gateway program not be funded. As a community, we need to be advocates for and lean into something that is an intrinsic part of our current and future local economy.

— David Chait, West Windsor