NJ Politics Digest: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Leaves Gateway Backers Wanting More

Proponents of the Gateway plan say it is not just a local transportation project but one of the nation’s most important infrastructure initiatives. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Supporters of the $13 billion Gateway rail tunnel project between New Jersey and New York on Monday said President Donald Trump’s long-awaited plan to redo the nation’s infrastructure was a big disappointment.

Though Trump envisions $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, he wants states to put up the majority of the money for his proposal, saying only $200 billion would be direct federal spending.
Trump’s plan would also limit federal funding to 20 percent of a project’s total cost—a far cry from the 50/50 split federal officials originally agreed to for funding the Gateway plan by the Obama White House.

In December, a Trump transportation official said the earlier agreement was “nonexistant.”

“In order for programs across the country like Gateway to be successful, we must substantially increase direct federal investment in infrastructure,” John D. Porcari, interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, said in a report by NJ.com.

Gov. Phil Murphy was more blunt, according to the report, saying the Trump plan had “a lot of good words associated with it but not a lot of coin.”

Supporters of the project, which would includes rebuilding the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River and construction of two new tubes under the Hudson River, say the Gateway plan is not just a local transportation project but one of the nation’s most important infrastructure initiatives.

The existing tunnel between New York and New Jersey is more than a century old, was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is in danger of failing within the next two decades, transportation officials have warned. Such a failure could damage the entire U.S. economy, Gateway supporters say.

Quote of the Day: “That’s where the long, slippery slide started,” —Mendham Township Deputy Mayor Rick Blood, saying he cut-and-pasted a provocative post about immigrants after it was sent to him by a Facebook friend.

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NJ Politics Digest: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Leaves Gateway Backers Wanting More