the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Almost a year after U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao called the Gateway Program “an absolute priority,” she said federal loans shouldn’t count toward the states’ share of funding. New York and New Jersey have pledged some $6 billion, mostly from federal loans, toward a proposed new $12.7 billion commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River and were counting on federal grants to cover the remainder. Federal authorities have said loans shouldn’t count as the states’ share.
This is a big issue for “dead broke” New Jersey and close to broke New York state.
On Thursday during a committee hearing on President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan ,New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker asked Chao on Thursday during a committee hearing on President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan why the federal loans that the states must repay don’t count as local funding.
Cho responded ,“We’re not anxious for a fight on this, but for New York and New Jersey to consider funds, debt that we have given them, as part of their equity back to us is something that we disagree with,” Chao went on that under federal calculations that disregard the loans, the two states are putting up only 5%.
Chao repeated again that there is no agreement for the federal government to fund half the Gateway program as state officials have said. That agreement with the Obama administration was a sentence “given at a rally, a political rally, no less,”
While New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a state Chamber of Commerce dinner in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night, said he was “committed to getting Gateway back on President Trump’s priority list.”
And stated ,“No single project is more critical, not just to our state’s economy but to our nation’s economy as well,” said Murphy, a Democrat who took office in January.