As 2017 came to a close, the Trump administration was busy cutting out what it sees as wasteful spending. Their final cut of the year could save taxpayers more than $6 billion originally budgeted by the Obama administration.
According to The Hill, the Federal Transit Administration informed the states of New York and New Jersey that the federal government will not pick up the tab for half of a proposed $13 billion AMTRAK rail tunnel project connecting the two states. Additional rail and bridge infrastructure spending in the area was included as part of the plan.
More from The Hill.
The Trump administration has shut down an Obama-era deal to have the federal government help fund a $13 billion rail tunnel project between New York and New Jersey, according to Crain’s New York Business.
In a letter obtained by Crain’s, an administration official calls the deal for the federal government to fund half of the project “non-existent.”
“Your letter also references a non-existent ’50/50′ agreement between USDOT, New York, and New Jersey. There is no such agreement,” Federal Transit Administration deputy administrator K. Jane Williams wrote in Friday’s letter, which came after New York and New Jersey requested federal loans to cover their part of the deal to split the cost of the work.
“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,” Williams continued.
The project would have funded necessary repairs to an Amtrak tunnel between New Jersey and New York City, as well as help fix damaged dual-tunnel conduit and rebuild New Jersey’s Portal Bridge.
The federal government often helps to cover the cost of necessary infrastructure projects.
Gateway Development Corp., the group overseeing the project, called the letter “posturing.”
“We are confident that the Trump Administration will engage with us as the President turns to infrastructure in 2018,” the group said in a statement.
It is likely that the Trump administration will fund some of the project eventually, but there may be some cuts or cost reductions included in any future plans. The announcement was likely made to give the Trump administration more leverage in the future.