NJ Politics Digest: Fed Spending Deal Could Include Gateway Funding

Congressional leaders have agreed to include $540M in the federal spending bill that could be used to fund a portion of the Gateway Tunnel project.

The Gateway Project includes construction of the tunnel and improvements to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. oe Raedle/Getty Images

The Gateway Tunnel Project is set to get $540 million in funding under the agreement for a spending bill needed to fund the federal government for the next six months, according to reports.

The spending bill will include $540 million that could be used to help fund part of the $13 billion tunnel plan, according to both POLITICO and NJ.com.

That’s good news for Gateway supporters, after President Donald Trump threatened to veto any spending plan that included money for the project. Trump, who had initially said he supported funding for the measure, reportedly was planning to withhold the funding as political payback for Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s opposition to Trump policies and appointments.

The spending plan worked out by congressional leaders doesn’t provide cash specifically for the Gateway Tunnel, but does provide money in transportation accounts that can be used on the project. That, however, doesn’t mean federal officials can’t work to block that cash from being used on the tunnel plan, according to POLITICO. This could keep Gateway in play as a bargaining chip in negotiations between Trump, Schumer and Tri-State representatives.

The Gateway Project, which includes construction of the tunnel and improvements to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, is touted by supporters as the most important infrastructure project in the nation.

The federal spending plan totals around $1.3 trillion and will keep the government operating through Sept. 30. Congress needs to pass it by Friday in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Quote of the Day: “It’s troubling that we get a tunnel, but we don’t get a wall. The last time I checked, the president didn’t make any promises about getting a tunnel at any of his campaign stops.” — House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, unhappy that the $1.3 trillion federal spending bill includes money that can be used for the Gateway project.

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NJ Politics Digest: Fed Spending Deal Could Include Gateway Funding