Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
Despite a meeting in November to discuss the Gateway project, President Donald Trump has made it clear that the 2020 federal budget doesn’t specify an money for the much-needed rail tunnel under the Hudson River. U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Rosen told reporters Monday that, “Those transit projects are local responsibilities, and elected officials from New York and New Jersey are the ones accountable for them.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo replied in a statement, “These ridiculous claims should not be taken seriously,” calling the exclusion of funds for the project “political posturing.”
Image via Wikimedia commons.
The two states and the Trump administration have been in dispute over where funding for the $30 billion plan to fix an existing train tunnel and build a new one, construct two new bridges and expand Penn Station, should come from. Cuomo had sent Trump a video of the crumbling conditions of the current tunnel, which is the only intercity passenger rail to link New York and New Jersey and serves roughly 200,000 daily commuters. The new single-track tunnels would supplement the two over 100-year-old rail tunnels currently in use. The governor had said that both he and the president were concerned with the $13 billion price tag that Amtrak, who owns the tunnel, said the project would cost.
As Bloomberg reports, the administration says more local funding is required, while the states are hoping for more federal funding. State officials said they had a deal with former President Barack Obama’s administration that the cost of the project would be split between both, but the current administration says there’s no such deal.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said he’ll introduce legislation aimed at the next federal budget requiring the U.S. government to match any outlays by New York and New Jersey with billions of dollars in federal funds already approved by Congress–funds the president has refused to release. The appropriations bill included $650 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, a big portion of which was set aside for the Gateway project. The Northeast Corridor gets $325.5 million in fiscal 2020 according to Trump’s budget.
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