De Blasio joins group of mayors in Washington to talk infrastructure with Trump

Posted On Wed, January 24, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, January 24, 2018 By In Policy, Transportation

Photo via Wikimedia

Editor’s Note: Although City Hall previously said the mayor would meet with Trump, on Wednesday he tweeted: “I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, the first meeting between the two since the president’s inauguration. De Blasio, along with the rest of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will discuss infrastructure funding with Trump, who is expected to release his long-awaited plan this month. During his campaign, the president pledged to introduce a $1 trillion proposal in his first 100 days in office, later changing the deadline to the third quarter. The White House claimed a detailed infrastructure plan would be released in early January (h/t Daily News).

gateway program, hudson river tunnel, amtrak
The path for a future Hudson River tunnel is being preserved at Hudson Yards, photo via Amtrak

One of the biggest infrastructure projects on the table for New York is the Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project, a nearly $13 billion project that would fix the century-old tunnel that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy as well as build a new two-track tunnel under the Hudson River. While both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Gov. Chris Christie agreed to totally fund New York and New Jersey’s share of the project’s cost last month, the Trump administration has balked at the idea of splitting it.

In response to the states’ funding pledge, a top Federal Transit Administration official, K. Jane Williams, claimed there was no agreement for the federal government to fund half of the project. “We consider it unhelpful to reference a non-existent ‘agreement’ rather than directly address the responsibility for funding a local project where nine out of 10 passengers are local transit riders,” Williams wrote in a letter to the two governors.

Considered one of the most crucial infrastructure plans in the country, the tunnel project would better connect New York and New Jersey, a region that provides hundreds of billions of tax dollars to Washington each year.

President Barack Obama’s administration was eager for the project to be completed and also recognized it as one of the most important planned rail infrastructure projects in the nation. In 2015, they fast-tracked the plan and committed to funding half. But the cost of the Gateway project has increased almost 50 percent, from its original estimate of $7.7 billion to nearly $13 billion.

[Via NY Daily News]


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