Earlier this year, President Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, hired two NY-based developers to head an infrastructure commission, which oversees spending on his proposed $1 trillion plan to improve the country’s bridges and roads. Despite this clear connection to the Big Apple, the president refuses to say whether he will include two major transportation projects for the city, both of which his proposed budget defunds, as the New York Times reported. As of now, Trump has proposed eliminating a program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem.
As covered previously by 6sqft, the president’s proposed budget for next year slashes transit projects by $2 billion. It eliminates the New Starts grant program, which would fund the construction of the Gateway Project, which would replace the Hudson River rail tunnel and expand Penn Station. The completion of the Second Avenue Subway is also at risk. Interestingly, the Trump transition team’s previous infrastructure plan outlined funding both projects. The Gateway Project would cost $12 billion and create 34,000 jobs. Completing phases two and three of the Second Avenue Subway would cost $14.2 billion and create 16,000 jobs.
During the interview with the Times, the president said he was considering “accelerating” his infrastructure bill and may even attach it to a revived health care or tax code overall bill to attract support from both Republicans and Democrats. When asked, Trump said he will examine both major NYC projects and submit them to Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, the NYC-based developers that make up the president’s yet-to-be-formed infrastructure commission, to evaluate.
“I did great in real estate in New York,” Trump said. “I know all the developers. I know all of the folks. I know the good ones and the bad ones. And I’m setting up a commission of very smart people that know how to spend money properly. That know how to build on time, on budget. And ideally, under time and under budget.”
While Trump said he thinks he’ll be able to win over Democratic support for his infrastructure plan, he has not spoken with the minority leader, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, for weeks. Schumer has previously said that many Democrats in Congress will never agree to the president’s plan of large tax breaks for developers and contractors.
[Via NY Times]
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