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 Crain’s 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 project’s 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 administration’s 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!"