Amtrak employees work beneath Penn Station in July. The Gateway Tunnel project would build two tubes for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains.
New York’s state budget director shot back at the Trump administration Sunday, insisting the federal government should pay for half of the $13 billion project to build much-needed new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.
Robert Mujica maintains that the 50/50 deal — originally negotiated with the Obama administration — remains in place for the critical Gateway Tunnel project.
The agreement called for the federal government to foot half the bill with New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority covering the rest.
The new tunnel would go from Newark Penn Station to New York Penn Station in Midtown.
Mujica said in a letter Sunday to the deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, K. Kane Williams, that the 50/50 deal was discussed at a meeting last August with President Trump, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, New York and New Jersey’s governors and a congressional delegation from the region.
“The Gateway Tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey is critical to the long-term vitality of the entire Northeast region and, as a result of significant damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is now considered the nation’s most urgent major infrastructure project,” the letter said.
Robert Mujica (center) is pictured here with Sen. John Flanagan (right) and Kelly Cummings (left).
Williams insists there is no agreement in place.
“We consider it unhelpful to reference a nonexistent ‘agreement’ rather than directly address the responsibility for funding a local project where nine out of 10 passengers are local transit riders,” Williams said in a Friday letter to New York and New Jersey officials.
Such a robust federal investment is higher than past “mega projects” and would deplete the existing grant program, Williams claims.
Mujica pushed back against that argument Sunday, asserting that the project is critical to the gross domestic product of the entire country.
“This project does not simply represent a local priority, but rather connects the entire Northeast Corridor,” Mujica said in his response.
New York Gov. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Christie outlined a framework for paying what they believe is their share of the project weeks ago.
(Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
The funding feud comes two weeks after Gov. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie outlined a framework for paying what they believe is their share of the project. That entailed New York paying $1.75 billion, New Jersey Transit covering $1.9 billion and the Port Authority putting in $1.9 billion.
The Gateway Tunnel project would build two tubes for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains to ease congestion and enable fixes to the current tunnels, which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Shortly after he was elected, Christie nixed a proposed plan to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. He cited its potential cost and the state’s cash-strapped coffers.
But demand for trans-Hudson service has grown exponentially over the past several years.
With With News Wire Services