President Donald Trump has reportedly instructed Republican legislators in New York to withdraw federal funding for a project to dig new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.
“Mr. Trump has promised to spur ‘the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history,’” reported the New York Times’ Patrick McGeehan and Jeffrey Mays this week. “So his opposition to an established project that is widely considered a solution to one of the nation’s most critical infrastructure needs has confounded even veterans of his own party. Some fear that Mr. Trump is jeopardizing commerce along the Eastern Seaboard simply to spite Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Democratic leader from New York.”
Congressman Peter King of Long Island added, “If the news reports are accurate that he wants to kill it or hold it because he’s mad at Chuck Schumer, that makes no sense. This is essential to the national economy as well as the regional economy.”
As Congressman Charles Schumer noted in a statement, “This project is vital to 50 million people in the northeast corridor and to our American economy, and politics shouldn’t get in the way.” Added Thomas K. Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, “The ripple effects of the loss of this tunnel are going to be seen through goods movement, through air travel nationally and through the economic productivity of the New York region. This is the national economy we’re talking about.”
“The New York business community considers Gateway our top priority infrastructure project,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, President and Chief Executive Officer for the business group Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s business leadership and its largest private sector employers, in a statement. “It will provide essential connectivity between the global financial and commercial center in New York City with the rest of America west of the Hudson River. We are confident that the Trump Administration understands that this is a project of national significance and intends to partner with us in ensuring its timely completion.”
As Wylde told the Times in an interview, “President Trump travels frequently between New York and New Jersey and understands that Gateway is critical to connect the rest of the country with the center of the economy and the world financial capital in New York. I have no doubt that regardless of what he says, he knows the importance of this project and he does not want it to fail on his watch.”
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement in which he said that “Leaders on both sides of the aisle as well as practically every regional stakeholder and transit expert agree these tunnels need to be replaced. The president should do the right thing and stop playing politics with our transportation network, which is the lifeblood of the Northeast region’s economy.”
By Howard M. Riell