Trump wants NJ-NY tunnel funding eliminated, report says
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wants to pull federal funding for a project that would replace century-old tunnels desperately needed for New York-New Jersey commuter trains, according to a Washington Post report.
Citing four officials "familiar with the discussions," the Post reported that Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday to make sure Washington contributes no money to the Gateway project.
According to the report, Ryan seemed "surprised" at the statement. Officials told the Post that Trump fears the project would be a boondoggle.
The Obama administration had agreed to fund half the project in 2016. However, Trump proposed a plan in February that emphasized a private, rather than federal, investments in the project. The Trump plan would also limit the federal share for projects to 20 percent.
The $30 billion Gateway project is backed by the bipartisan congressional delegations from New Jersey and New York as well as Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It also had the backing of former Gov. Chris Christie after he nixed an earlier plan.
The project would build a new rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River and replace the Portal Bridge, which carries 450 trains daily between Newark and New York.
The existing tunnel, built in 1910, was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy when 10 million gallons of salt water corroded the walls and electrical cables. Amtrak has warned that inaction on the tunnel would severely cut rail capacity in the years ahead.
“The Gateway project is probably the most important infrastructure project, not only for New Jersey and for the region, but for the entire country,” Janna Chernetz, New Jersey senior policy director for Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said.
A representative for Amtrak said the federal transit corporation has no comment on the Post story.