Biden in NYC to showcase $292M grant for Hudson Tunnel project

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Biden highlights grant for Hudson tunnel, takes aim at GOP
President Biden was in NYC to announce a $292 million grant to help complete an early phase of the Hudson Tunnel project. N.J. Burkett has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- President Biden arrived in New York City Tuesday to showcase a $292 million grant to help complete an early phase of the Hudson Tunnel project, part of the long-delayed Gateway Program.

Biden was joined for a tour and announcement at the West Side Rail Yard by Governors Hochul and Murphy, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Booker, Menendez and others.

The long-delayed tunnel will improve reliability for the 200,000-weekday passengers on Amtrak and NJ Transit.

"This is one of the biggest, the most consequential projects in the country," Biden said. "But we finally have the money, and we're going to get it done. I promise we're going to get it done."

The stop is part of a "Rail Week" tour by the president, who visited Baltimore Monday to talk about using infrastructure law funds to replace a 150-year-old rail tunnel there.

He will stop in Philadelphia later this week.

The president is pledging that government spending on infrastructure will boost economic growth and create blue-collar jobs.

"When America sees these projects popping up across the country, it sends a really important message: When we work together, there's not a damn thing we can't do," Biden said Monday. "There's nothing beyond our capacity."

Biden will be joined at the 12:30 p.m. tour and announcement at the West Side Rail Yard by top elected officials from NY and NJ. Derick Waller reports.

The rail trips this week amount to a form of counterprogramming to the new House Republican majority.

GOP lawmakers are seeking deep spending cuts in exchange for lifting the government's legal borrowing limit, saying that federal expenditures are hurting growth and that the budget should be balanced.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Biden are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, with the Republican lawmaker intending to press his case for spending cuts even though White House officials say Biden won't negotiate over the need to increase the federal debt limit.

"I don't think there's anyone in America who doesn't agree that there's some wasteful Washington spending that we can eliminate," McCarthy told CBS News on Sunday.

To some in the Biden administration, the Hudson Tunnel Project demonstrates what could be lost if spending cuts are put into place.

In total, the construction is projected to result in 72,000 jobs, according to the White House.

The project will renovate the 1910 tunnel already carrying about 200,000 weekday passengers beneath the Hudson between New Jersey and Manhattan, a long-delayed upgrade after decades in which the government underfunded infrastructure.

The grant would also be used to help complete the concrete casing for an additional rail tunnel beneath the river, preserving a right of way for the eventual tunnel.

In total, the project is expected to cost $16 billion and help ease a bottleneck for New Jersey commuters and Amtrak passengers going through New York City.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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