ANALYSIS: The $900-Million Schumer Project That Could Cause a Shutdown ANALYSIS: The $900-Million Schumer Project That Could Cause a Shutdown – NTK Network

ANALYSIS: The $900-Million Schumer Project That Could Cause a Shutdown

The Gateway Project has bipartisan support and represents less than one one-thousandth of spending in next year's budget. Its status as a Schumer-led project may lead to a shutdown.

By NTK Staff | 03.21.2018 @10:00am
ANALYSIS: The $900-Million Schumer Project That Could Cause a Shutdown

The Gateway Project – “a rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey,” according to Bloomberg – could receive $900 million in federal funding in the $1.3 trillion budget, less than one one-thousandth of federal spending.

Why then, is such a small sliver of federal spending the subject of a threat from President Trump to torch the whole thing?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may have something to do with it.

In November 2015, Schumer and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced a commitment from the federal government – then under control of President Obama – “to cover no less than 50% of the project costs via grants and other federal funding.”

The agreement also had the support of Govs. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Chris Christie (D-NJ). The latter would, of course, later become a Trump ally.

The framework agreement includes a first-ever federal funding commitment that Senators Schumer and Booker secured from the US Department of Transportation and Amtrak to cover no less than 50% of the project costs via grants and other federal funding described below. The 50% federal funding commitment comes in response to Governor Cuomo’s and Governor Christie’s letter of September 15, 2015 in which they announced that the two States would take responsibility for developing a funding plan to cover the other half of the project costs if the federal government committed to provide half of the funding.

But, according to the New York Post, the agreement was deemed “nonexistent” by the Trump administration when it took power.

Now, Schumer – and potential 2020 candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) – have fought proposed budget cuts, apparent efforts by the administration to shun the project in infrastructure documents, and, now, Trump’s desire to exclude Gateway from the latest funding bill.

Trump has told Ryan and other lawmakers he doesn’t want the Gateway funds in the spending bill. His objection is in part because New York’s Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, had held up the nomination of several of Trump’s nominees, according to people familiar with the president’s thinking on the issue.

Now, both Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) and a former Cuomo aide who chairs the Gateway Development Corp. have vowed to move the project forward with or without the federal government’s help.

If Congress wants to avoid a government shutdown, then New York and New Jersey may have to do Gateway without $900 million in help from the feds.

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