Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump building wall but maybe not the Hudson rail tunnel

The first element of Gateway, a mission-critical bridge, may not get the needed — and expected — federal funding, possibly derailing entire initiative

gateway amtrak
Credit: Amtrak/Chuck Gomez
Amtrak train exiting the north tube of the outmoded Hudson River Tunnel from New York into New Jersey.
John Reitmeyer reports for
NJ Spotlight:

Work on a key bridge that’s part of the ambitious Gateway plan to build two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River is supposed to begin this year. But whether that will happen seems up in the air, as the initial preview of President Donald Trump’s first budget has put the project’s substantial federal funding in question.
Only a few sentences related to transportation spending are in a budget summary released by the White House last week, but they indicate the Trump administration plans to freeze new federal-grant agreements for infrastructure projects like Gateway that aren’t yet fully funded.
The budget proposal marks an apparent reversal by the Republican president on the issue of infrastructure after he repeatedly stressed the need to rebuild the nation’s “roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports, and airports” while on the presidential campaign trail in 2016. The project had been earmarked as the most important in the country by the Obama administration, since it not only impacts New York and New Jersey but the economy of the entire East Coast.
In response to a possible freeze, warnings are already being sent by federal lawmakers, transportation advocates, and even Gov. Chris Christie — who canceled New Jersey’s last major trans-Hudson tunnel project in 2010 — that there will be a major effort launched to save the funding for Gateway and keep its construction on track.

Read the full story here

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