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May 21, 2019

Cory Booker offers to name crucial new Hudson River tunnels the ‘Trump Tunnel’

March 13, 2019
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has a plan to get federal funding for the new Gateway tunnels under the Hudson River. (Alex Brandon / AP)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is willing to go to extreme measures to secure federal funding for the new Gateway tunnels under the Hudson River — even if that means naming them after President Trump.

The heads of the critical rail infrastructure project met with Booker and the three other senators from New York and New Jersey in Washington Tuesday to discuss a plan pitched by Sen. Chuck Schumer last week to move the project forward immediately.

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Following the meeting, Booker parroted a March 2018 editorial from the Daily News, which suggested the tunnels could be named after the president if it led to their completion.

“Whatever it takes, we’ll name this the Trump Tunnel if necessary,” said Booker. “I don’t care, this is not about ego.”

Funding for the $30 billion Gateway Program, which includes two new rail tunnels under the Hudson and replacement of the 109-year-old Portal North Bridge over New Jersey’s Hackensack River, has been delayed for almost two years by the Trump Administration.

The budget proposal released by the Trump Administration Monday would cut Amtrak’s funding in half — the rail company owns the current 108-year-old sub-Hudson tunnels that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and are in dire need of repairs.

Schumer announced a plan last week that would allow New York and New Jersey to begin funding the project on their own while attaching a rider to “must-pass” legislation that guarantees the states are reimbursed by the federal government.

Construction of the new tunnels is still being held up as the U.S. Department of Transportation has slow-walked the environmental review process.

“All that’s waiting is a signature… from [Secretary] Elaine Chao,” said Schumer. “But she’s being stopped by President Trump trying to use the Gateway Tunnel for political ransom.”

It remains unclear whether or not Trump would bend if the tunnels were named after him. A White House spokesman declined a request for comment.

With Chris Sommerfeldt

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