It takes a tough man to dig a long tunnel, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy think they found their guy in Kris Kolluri.
The two governors nominated Kolluri as the new CEO of the Gateway Development Commission (GDC), which oversees projects to revitalize the Northeast Corridor including a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and redeveloping the Portal North Bridge in Secaucus, a New Jersey transit hub where the MTA’s Metro North Railroad and New Jersey Transit connect.
“Chris, as many of you know, is the former Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, among many other hats he’s worn over the years in New Jersey, but with deep relations on the New York side of the Hudson,” Murphy said. “I think this is exactly the right guy for the right moment for the right position. As Kathy said, ‘you don’t go many places unless you have a CEO,’ and this is the guy we’re nominating. And I think we could not be more excited about this. Big day for GDC.”
The Gateway Program is a collaboration between New York, New Jersey and Amtrak. It’s focussed on updating and replacing rail infrastructure along a 10-mile stretch of the Northeast Corridor between Newark and New York City. And updating track, tunnel bridge and station capacity along the same stretch.
The construction of the new tunnel under the Hudson River, renovation of the existing tunnel and replacement of the Portal Bridge in Secaucus make up the first phase of the program.
Kolluri currently serves as the President and CEO of Camden Community Partnership Inc., a non-profit focussed on economic and community development. As commissioner of the New Jersey DOT from 2006 to 2008 he oversaw NJ Transit, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
“With his extensive resume, Kris Kolluri brings an extraordinary record of public service and I am confident he will serve New York and New Jersey well as Chief Executive Officer of the Gateway Development Commission,” Hochul said in a release. “The Gateway Hudson Tunnel is critical to the Northeast corridor serving more than 800,000 passengers daily and is a key component of our plan to build back stronger than ever.”
Hochul and Murphy made the joint announcement while speaking on a panel at the Regional Plan Association (RPA) Centennial Assembly at Chelsea Piers.
“I look forward to meeting the Commissioners and supporting their important work,” Kolluri said. “There is a clear and present opportunity and desire among federal, state, and bi-state partners to advance the Hudson Tunnel Project (HTP) and the Gateway Program. In the short term, the HTP is poised to move forward and the Commission has a critical role in overseeing the successful delivery of this project. Should my candidacy be approved by the Commissioners, I commit to being singularly focused on ensuring that this collaborative effort results in HTP’s fruition.”
Kolluri’s nomination will be considered by GDC’s board at its next meeting, likely scheduled for May 16.