An agreement to have the federal government pay for half the cost of a critically needed railway tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey has been torpedoed by the Trump administration.
The Washington Examiner reports that the $13 billion plan negotiated during the Obama administration would have seen a second railway tunnel built between New Jersey and New York’s Penn Station; the single tunnel now connecting the island of Manhattan to the mainland under the Hudson River currently serves about 600,000 passengers daily.
In a letter to the governors of New York and New Jersey, Federal Transit Administration deputy administrator K. Jane Williams disavowed the agreement, writing, “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 ten passengers are local transit riders.”
The so-called Gateway project is seen by transit officials as vitally important to the future of Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor service, which relies exclusively on the current single, deteriorating tunnel to access Manhattan.
Officials remained hopeful about a federal deal.
“There is no more urgent infrastructure project than Gateway, and posturing aside, we are confident that the Trump administration will engage with us as the president turns to infrastructure in 2018,” according to a statement issued by a Gateway project spokesperson.