Friday, April 20, 2018

GOP delegation pushing for potential Gateway funding to be rescinded

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GOP delegation pushing for potential Gateway funding to be rescinded Amtrak

U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) sent a letter April 19 to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, which urged him to advise President Trump to rescind recent funding that could be used to move the Gateway Program forward.

Rep. Budd's letter was signed by 26 GOP members of the House, which represents a bit more than 11 percent of the seats currently held by Republicans in the House and just shy of 6 percent of the total 435 seats.

The funds the delegates are taking issue with were included in the recently passed ominbus spending bill and were not included specifically for the Gateway Program. The letter suggests three funding sources to be revoked, which include $225 million from the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair account; $388 million from the Northeast Corridor Grants and an unspecified amount from the State of Good Repair Grants, with the caveat that the amount not unduly affect mass transit expenditure in other projects around the country.

The delegates cited project cost estimate increases, insufficient state contributions to the program and "the most expensive rail construction environment in the world" as reasons for as reasons for supporting potential rescission of funds.

In a statement that accompanied the release of the letter, Rep. Budd said, "The letter sends the same message that my amendment on this issue did: House Republicans do not want this tunnel funded. I'm hopeful that the package of spending cuts that the president sends to Congress will include these funds."

The delegates who signed the letter could face opposition within their own party, specifically from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.

Rep. Frelinghuysen delivered a statement at an April 12 hearing of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee where he said, "The Gateway Project is a prime example of an infrastructure investment that will promote greater economic and national security benefits, as it effects 20 or more states who use the East Coast rail system and whose passengers and freight depend on this narrow access point in New York and New Jersey...The Gateway project is vital to the Northeast and it will be completed - sooner or later - despite opposition."

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