Melissa DeRosa, a senior aide to New York governor Andrew Cuomo has a message for New Yorkers — The Gateway tunnel will not be completed without federal assistance.
Mrs. DeRosa said at a recent Crain’s business breakfast that the proposed $30 billion dollar project — which would ultimately reinvigorate Amtrak’s infrastructure between New Jersey and New York — requires federal funding and cannot be started without financial assistance with lawmakers in Washington.
At the forefront of the project to invigorate infrastructure between New York and New Jersey is an 11 billion bypass for trains to travel under the Hudson River.
“We don’t have the funds for it,” Mrs. DeRosa said at the breakfast last Thursday. “I don’t think that’s an option we are entertaining at this point, and I don’t think the federal government should be let off the hook, frankly.”
New York and New Jersey have already offered to put forth $15 billion each towards the project.
If one of the current rail tunnels under the Hudson River would fail, only six trains each hour would be able to pass through, experts said recently.
President Obama reached an agreement with Gov. Cuomo, D-N.Y., and former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., to split the cost with the state and Washington D.C. — but President Trump, after being inaugurated in 2017, voided the deal — and has since denied the states funding, loans, permits, and approvals.
“The Gateway Tunnel is federal government malpractice at its finest,” Mrs. DeRosa said recently in a statement. “The president of the United States is playing politics with that tunnel in a way that is so beyond the pale. It’s disgraceful, it’s going against everything you are elected to do, it’s an abdication of duty.”
“Unfortunately, President Trump and his Department of Transportation have put their thumbs on the permitting process, holding up this urgently needed project in a systemic and cynical bid to exert false political leverage over me and my colleagues in the New York and New Jersey delegations,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, said last month at an event hosted by the Association for a Better New York. “What this is about, we all know it: it’s punishing elected officials who refuse to fall in line behind President Trump.”
“One signal from President Trump, one signature from Secretary Chao, and Gateway could begin,” Mr. Schumer continued. “So we’re stuck. They’re blocking everything. Secretary Chao has been totally uncooperative, and she’s getting her orders from the president, I know that.”
Mr. Schumer has proposed legislation which would mandate the federal government to reimburse local municipalities, as part of a future piece of “must-pass legislation,” for projects of “national significance.”
The Gateway project development corporation seemed to approve of the plan.
“The legislation proposed today by Senator Schumer would go a long way toward breaking the log jam in Washington over the critically-important Gateway Program projects,” they said last month in a statement. “The stakes are far too high to allow politics to further delay the start of major construction.”
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