Planet Princeton

Trump administration kills funding deal for new NJ/NY rail tunnel

The Trump administration last week killed plans for the federal government to pay for half of the cost of a new tunnel connecting New Jersey to Penn Station. Back in 2015, the Obama administration had reached and agreement with the governors of New Jersey and New York to split the costs of a new Amtrak tunnel for the busiest transit hub in the United States.

Leaders from both states recently proposed to fund their obligations with federal loans through the federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program, and were told in a letter last week, obtained by Crain’s New York Business, that the agreement was non-existent.

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

Administration officials also told Crain’s that the federal government would not allow New Jersey and New York to borrow federal money for the project.

 

The $13 billion project includes a new tube under the Hudson River, repairs to the existing tunnel conduit and the reconstruction of New Jersey’s Portal Bridge. Business leaders in New York and New Jersey have stressed the importance of the project and its impact on the future of the regional economy.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed an earlier effort to build a second train tunnel, to the chagrin of many business leaders and commuters, and federal funds that had been set aside for the project were then redirected to other states.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Real American

    For the entire nation, the present administration is conducting the critical needed planning for revitalization. Because this administration has no commitment to the tunnel from shithole NJ into Pennsylvania Station is boo hoo. Your overwhelmingly democratic gummit ain’t got no money for investing in infrastructure – but did you know you’ll have a butler, a maid and a lettuce picker for every household now?
    Are any of you fools observing?

  • Joe

    Today’s GOP just does not seem to give a damn about infrastructure or the common good. Eisenhower is turning over in his grave; he created and invested heavily in the interstate highway system.

  • William J Brown

    Thanks again, Chris Christie! Had the governor not backed out of funding the 50% commitment in 2009 (with Obama’s DOT picking up the other half), that tunnel would ALREADY HAVE BEEN BUILT and FUNCTIONAL RIGHT NOW.

    Now, its 2018, almost ten years later, and its just still a pipe (or tube, haha) dream. Good luck getting 1 cent in funding from the Trump Administration, as it would benefit only BLUE STATES that largely voted against him in the election.

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