NJ Politics Digest: Will Trump Nix Gateway Funding For Political Payback?

President Donald Trump. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is telling Republicans in the House of Representatives not to provide funding for the $12.9 billion Gateway Tunnel project as a way of getting back at New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, according to reports published over the weekend.

Bloomberg reported that Trump is miffed at Schumer, the Senate minority leader, because the Democrat has held up several of the president’s nominees.

The report quotes people familiar with the issue, who said Trump told GOP House leader Paul Ryan last week he wants to make sure there is no federal funding put toward the project.

Not only is that bad news for commuters who rely on century-old tunnels damaged during Sandy for their daily commute, but also for Republicans in New York and New Jersey already considered vulnerable in the upcoming midterm election.

The Gateway project is expected to double capacity between Newark and Manhattan and has, in the past, been called one of the most critical infrastructure projects in the country.

The Trump administration has long signaled its ambivalence about the Gateway project.

In December, a federal transit official expressed concerns about the project and indicated the new administration was not willing to honor agreements made under President Barack Obama. Trump’s call for a new nation-wide focus on infrastructure improvements also called for state and local governments to pick up much more of the cost while reducing federal contributions for such work.

For his part, Schumer called on Trump to avoid playing politics with a project “vital to fifty million people in the northeast corridor and to our American economy,” Bloomberg reported.

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