[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to review President Trump’s infrastructure proposal, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) urged the President to back off his reported threats to shut down the federal government over funding for the Gateway Project. The Gateway Project refers to a set of transportation infrastructure improvements on the bustling Northeast Corridor rail network, including the rebuilding of critically damaged rail tunnels linking Manhattan and New Jersey. According to a recent press report, President Trump has threatened to veto the omnibus spending package under consideration by Congress if it includes funding for the Gateway Project. Government funding will expire March 23.
“The Gateway Project is essential to our economy, not just in New York and Connecticut and New Jersey, but to the entire country. I urge you to advise the President – in fact, urge the President – to back off his threat to shut down the government over the Gateway Project,” Blumenthal said in an exchange with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Chao refused to commit to support funding the project, saying, “I can’t commit to something I don’t know.” Video of Blumenthal’s full exchange with Chao is available for download here.
If left unrepaired, sustained damage to the infrastructure included in the Gateway Project could have disastrous financial, economic, and safety implications, with ripple effects that would slow rail transportation throughout the Northeast to a crawl.