Optimism remains for Hudson River tunnel project despite threat of Trump cuts

Posted On Wed, April 12, 2017 By

Posted On Wed, April 12, 2017 By In Policy, Transportation

As 6sqft reported recently, President Trump may include two major New York transportation projects in his proposed budget cuts, including the Gateway 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. The Gateway Program, which would add a much-needed second rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and upgrade aging rail infrastructure in New York and New Jersey, has been relying on the federal government for half of its estimated $24 billion cost. WNYC reports that even if the funding is pulled, the agency may look to funding from a public-private partnership.

Gateway Development Corp. is a non-profit corporation comprised of current and former Federal, Amtrak, NJ Transit and Port Authority officials. Interim agency head John Porcari said public-private partnerships are under consideration for aspects of the project, but significant federal dollars are essential to making the project a reality.

Two recent train derailments brought the issue to the forefront, prompting a joint op-ed in the New York Times from New York and New Jersey’s senators fearing what would happen if Trump’s infrastructure funding cuts happened, warning of a “hair-pulling transit apocalypse to come if we do not make major investments in our infrastructure now.”

Some, like former chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie Rich Bagger, are confident that the federal funding will remain: “The president is committed to a major infrastructure program for the United States,” he said. “And this is a leading infrastructure–if not the leading infrastructure project–in the country.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told WNYC that she believes she can succeed in making the case that the Hudson River train tunnel must be funded–and if the project is cut from the federal budget she thinks voters will be motivated to protest and pressure Congress the way they have been for health care and Trump’s ban on immigration.

[Via WNYC]

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