Trump declares Obama’s special deal with NY and New Jersey ‘non-existent’ – saves taxpayers a load

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has put the brakes on a $13 billion rail tunnel project first proposed in 2015 under President Barack Obama.

The plan calls for the federal government to fund half of the cost to fix a deteriorating Amtrak tunnel between New Jersey to New York City, repair damage to a dual-tunnel conduit and reconstruct the New Jersey railroad network’s aging Portal Bridge, Fox News reported, citing a Crane’s New York Business article.

Amtrak says the existing tunnel is damaged and could fail within 10 to 15 years.

The costs for the project were to be split among New York, New Jersey and the federal government, but the Trump White House is saying the deal was now “non-existent.”

The reason given was that the states recently requested that their portions be covered by loans from the federal government, leaving Washington to pony up all of the initial funding for what the Trump White House is calling “a local project,” according to Fox News.

As a social media users aptly noted, “Why should taxpayers in South Dakota or South Carolina have to chip in for a rail tunnel for Jersey commuters who work in New York?”

K. Jane Williams, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, broke the news to New York and New Jersey in a letter Friday.

“Your letter also references a non-existent ’50/50′ agreement between USDOT, New York, and New Jersey. There is no such agreement,” Williams wrote.

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“We consider it unhelpful to reference a non-existent ‘agreement’ rather than directly address the responsibility for funding a local project where nine out of 10 passengers are local transit riders.”

With President Donald Trump expected to unveil a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan in January, Fox News noted that the letter leaves in doubt whether the Gateway project, as the tunnel revitalization plan is called, will be included.

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Tom Tillison


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