Skip to comments.Trump administration shuts down $13 billion Obama-era Amtrak plan
Posted on 01/01/2018 2:23:50 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
The Trump administration has shut down a $13 billion federal spending plan to rebuild an Amtrak project between New York and New Jersey.
According to a letter obtained by Crains New York Business, the administration called the deal proposed by former President Barack Obama which would have been half paid for by the federal government non-existent.
Your letter also references a non-existent '50/50' agreement between [the Department of Transportation], New York, and New Jersey. There is no such agreement," wrote Federal Transit Administration deputy administrator K. Jane Williams in a Friday letter. 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.
The Obama administration had agreed with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to split the projects costs 50-50.
The Department of Transportation, which encompasses the Federal Transit Administration, had agreed to the deal with Christie, Cuomo, now-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker in 2015.
The project would have built an Amtrak tunnel connecting New Jersey to Penn Station in New York City. The current single tunnel that sees roughly 600,000 commuters in a single day is known to be deteriorating.
Gateway, the development corporation formed to carry out the project, called the Trump administrations letter posturing.
"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," the agency spokesman said in a statement.
President Trump and other administration officials have said infrastructure can and should be bipartisan, and he is expected to release a $1 billion plan in January.
Following an Amtrak derailment in Washington state that left at least three people dead and 100 more injured, Trump said a soon-to-be introduced infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.
"The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly," Trump tweeted on Dec. 18. "Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!"
Now the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations, including Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, will be more motivated to vote for a big Infrastructure spending bill, which includes a Border Wall.
Say, aaren’t NY and NJ sanctuary states?
Dismantle everything the Kenyan did.
Hey Gateway: There IS a more urgent infrastructure project than Gateway, called The Southern Border Wall. Guess you guys didnt build a sample wall, eh?
Like the high speed rail in California it is just a way for the rat blue states to use this bottomless pit of money to support their corruption and pockets. Funny side note a NYS friend of mine got a gift from beedy eyed Cuomo the gov, a 117 dollar check called the property tax relief check to offset his 15,000 dollar a year property taxes. What a joke on the residence of the state
Theres your funding for the Wall.
Boy, you can almost hear the leftist who wrote this article whining.
You wanna tunnel, I wanna wall, money
You wanna tunnel, I wanna wall, money
You wanna tunnel, I wanna wall
But your money ain’t been there at all
Money, money, money
Socialists looove them choo-choos. They have visions of their highly controlled populace spending long hours commuting to their government jobs, reading The New York Times or Washington Post, calling to each other, “What do you think of the new government infrastructure plan, comrade?”
And before each stop, the union announcer guy announces “Next stop, The Nancy Pelosey Station!”; “Next stop, the Andrew Coumo station!”....
Peasants doing what the government wants, under government control for hours every day. Calling each other “comrade” and thanking government for the marvelous choo-choo they get to spend hours on each day, every day. Under control.
That’s why they hate cars. Too much freedom!
I wonder how much federal dollars NJ and New York are already sucking up.?
Amtrak is another matter entirely, not exactly germane to this particular discussion. They inherited the northeast corridor lines from Boston to Washington, along with from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, as part of the deal that created Conrail.
What’s happened since then, IMO, is that Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania view that line as their 1:1 scale electric train set, and have put into place massive state-level bureaucracies to run it. Yes, Amtrak runs trains. But the outfits like NJ Transit, New York’s MTA, and SEPTA have added more trains into Penn Station than PRR ever ran.
That being said: the Hudson River railroad tunnel to Penn Station really is in dire need of fixing. It’s only been around 100 years since its construction. Even concrete needs maintenance.
Built that is with private funding! The Pennsylvania RR built the Hudson River Tunnels for about $3 billion (in today’s dollars). Not only that, they built it, and paid off the debt. Quite a novel idea for today!
But I think an earlier poster hit the nail right on the head. Mr. Trump says, “You wanna tunnel? Vote for my border wall. Have a nice day!”
The Examiner reporter missed the most important point. Crain’s says the proposal was for the Feds to supply 50%, NY and NJ the balance through loans from the Feds (to be repaid never?) The administration says it is still willing to go along if the States fund their portions internally. In other words, States want Feds to supply 100% No.
“Built that is with private funding! The Pennsylvania RR built the Hudson River Tunnels for about $3 billion (in todays dollars). Not only that, they built it, and paid off the debt. Quite a novel idea for today!”
I don’t understand why a two track tunnel and a refurbishment of the existing tunnel would cost twice what the original tunnel cost and NY/NJ would need the government to cover 50% of the cost. That’s absolutely ridiculous.
Even the dim-witted New York Times pointed out how tunnel costs in NYC are more than double what agencies across the world pay, even when you factor in healthcare and other non-construction costs that are tied to the project. The Port Authority, NJ Transit, and NY MTA are simply poor managers of projects and there is no economic incentive for them to control costs. With all three agencies having a (financial) stake in the Gateway project (and the Port Authority isn’t running trains in Penn Station, yet Amtrak is), there is so much bloat that any achievement is regarded as a miracle.
They’re nearly 8 years late on connecting the LIRR to Grand Central, well, over budget, and the actual tunnel that goes under the East River was completed over 30 years ago. If they continue to use the tax payers as a piggy bank with no accountability for their spending, then they will only finish projects when there is political will for them wasting too much money.
Trump is right to tie their obvious waste to a project that the country actually needs.
If they like trains so much, they can get off in Newark and take PATH to New York. Or Jersey City.
As a railfan, I am torn on Amtrak. I believe Amtrak should be privatized, but I believe that we need to have long distance trains, too. Air travel is a hassle now.
The unions control Amtrak. Someone should investigate their work rules which drive up costs.
If Amtrak and the NY/NJ commuter system need repairs raise the ticket prices and pay for it. Pretty simple if you ask me.
Winning! I’m not tired of it yet.
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