Schumer Seeks NYC Tunnel Funds in Biden Infrastructure Plan

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is seeking to advance a long-delayed rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey, saying billions of dollars in transportation funding from the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan was ripe for use.

The American Jobs Plan released by President Joe Biden “makes clear that this administration is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to moving forward with the new Gateway rail tunnel, which is critical to the regional and national economy,” Schumer said Wednesday in a statement.

“Gateway is the most significant joint Amtrak-transit infrastructure project in the country, and therefore ripe for funding from the president’s jobs plan,” he said. “I look forward to advancing this funding through the Senate to get Gateway built.”

Transportation-related building and investment is “the heart of the plan,” Biden said Wednesday in a national address. “It modernizes transportation infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our airports.”

The projects would create millions of jobs, speed goods to market, unclog commuting routes and cut pollution, he said. “It grows the economy in key ways,” he said.

The president didn’t discuss specific plans such as Gateway during his speech.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told lawmakers last week that the Biden administration is prioritizing the Gateway rail tunnel project between New York City and New Jersey with urgency because of its “national significance” to the economy.

The infrastructure plan includes $85 billion in transit investments, $80 billion for Amtrak intercity rail infrastructure investments and $25 billion for special, complex infrastructure projects of national significance, Schumer said in the statement.

The project stalled under former President Donald Trump who in 2018 threatened to shut down the government if a spending bill directed federal funding for the tunnel. Gateway was ineligible for federal taxpayer money, the Trump administration said, because New York and New Jersey hadn’t pledged enough cash.

The tunnel would carry Amtrak and New Jersey Transit commuter trains under the Hudson River. Amtrak says it will allow for twice as many trains to run under the Hudson River, including those that are part of its Northeast Corridor service that connects Boston, New York and Washington.

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