Today is a great day for the New York metropolitan region and for the commuters, businesses, and families who rely on rail service between New York and New Jersey. I applaud Governor Phil Murphy and Governor Kathy Hochul for their nomination of Kris Kolluri to serve as chief executive officer of the Gateway Program Development Corporation. The GPDC has been doing much of the heavy lifting to address the region’s critical need for a safe and reliable commuter rail system connecting New York and New Jersey, a system that not only connects these two great states, but in its importance and activity, also serves the entire nation.
I have known and worked with Kris for several decades now, I can state unequivocally: Kris Kolluri will deliver for the region. He has dedicated his professional life to public service; to issues pertaining to transportation and economic development; and to achieving great things by combining the vision of a great leader with the focus and drive of a professional who understands that details matter. He is an industry-expert, a consensus-builder, and a person of high-character and dependability. In selecting Kris Kolluri to serve this important role, governors Hochul and Murphy got things right.
As vice president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and eastern regional manager representing more than 40,000 construction craft laborers in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Puerto Rico, I am acutely aware of the tens of thousands of jobs which will be created building the tunnels, tracks, and bridges needed to increase rail capacity and resiliency on the nation’s busiest commuter rail line. I also spent more than 20-years serving as commissioner of both the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and many more years advocating for a safe and efficient transportation system. Inasmuch that I understand the issues, I remind people that the Northeast Corridor line presently relies on a century-old rail tunnel, a frequently failing bridge, and a transit system where delays have become more common than delivering people to their destinations on-time. We need better infrastructure, we deserve better service, and Kris Kolluri can help us achieve better results.
Raymond M. Pocino is Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager for the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), representing more than 40,000 construction workers in New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, Delaware, and Puerto Rico