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Trump Leans on GOP to Oppose NY-NJ Railway Tunnel Project

Trump Leans on GOP to Oppose NY-NJ Railway Tunnel Project
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 02 March 2018 10:57 PM

President Donald Trump is leaning on Republicans in Congress not to fund a long-delayed plan to build a $30 billion new rail tunnel into New York's Penn Station from New Jersey, and personally reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan about the matter, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The Gateway project is one of the most pressing among the country's infrastructure needs, the article explained, and pulling the funding would cancel an agreement made during the administration of former President Barack Obama that would have paid half of its total costs.

Trump, according to four unnamed officials, has taken a personal interest in the project and spoke with Ryan on Wednesday during a meeting at the Capitol, the Post reported. The White House did not respond to a request about the matter and a spokesman for Ryan declined comment.

Trump's motives were not clear, the article explained, although one possible reason could be the importance of the project to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. Schumer has held up a number of Trump nominees, including the president's pick to head the Federal Railroad Administration.

Another possibility is Trump's contention that taxpayers from New York and New Jersey should fund the infrastructure project. Yet another reason could be the fear that the Gateway project was a potential boondoggle.

From a strategic standpoint, the move could offer Trump a bargaining chip to entice Schumer and other congressional Democrats to support his larger infrastructure bill that Congress has slated for later this year.

Later this month Congress is set to address the omnibus spending bill, and at least $950 million in federal funds could be earmarked for the project. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., was one of the "powerful Republican backers" the Post explained wanted to see the Gateway project funded.

However, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has told lawmakers that funding the Manhattan to New Jersey rail tunnel would mean less money to fund projects in their districts. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., was one lawmaker who didn't see the need for federal funds to be spent on the Gateway tunnel.

"North Carolina and the other 48 states should not have to foot the bill for this Hall of Fame earmark," said Budd.

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President Donald Trump is leaning on Republicans in Congress not to fund a long-delayed plan to build a $30 billion new rail tunnel into New York's Penn Station from New Jersey, and personally reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan about the matter, The Washington Post...
us, donald trump, republicans, new york, new jersey, railway, tunnel project
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2018-57-02
Friday, 02 March 2018 10:57 PM
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