From the Star Ledger:
President Donald Trump is trying to block federal funding for the Gateway Tunnel project even though the House has already allocated $900 million for it, according to a published report.
The Washington Post said Trump has pushed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to keep the funding for the plan for a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan out of the spending bill now being written to fund the government through Sept. 30.
The report said Trump delivered the message to Ryan during a meeting on Wednesday. It cited as sources three people familiar with the conversation.
Trump has been at odds with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on such issues as health care, taxes, budget cuts, immigration and guns. Schumer delayed the Senate confirmation of Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory to pressure the administration to fund Gateway.
His much-touted infrastructure plan calls for increased state and local government spending on public works, even as he crippled their ability to raise revenue to pay for projects by signing legislation shrinking the federal deduction for state and local taxes.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th Dist., who inserted the $900 million into the House spending bill, is one of the negotiators.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in Washington Thursday that the retiring lawmaker, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, is working hard to ensure the money remains in the final spending bill.
The federal government initially agreed to pay the half the cost of building a new railroad tunnel under the Hudson River so that the existing tunnels could be closed to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
But the Trump administration has appeared to renege on that promise. In a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Donald Payne Jr., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams said there is “no evidence of a binding agreement.”