As far back as November 24, 2016, in an article titled “Rebuilding Our Crumbling Tunnels: A Fitting Challenge for Our First Builder-President Donald J. Trump,” Ombudsman Alert had been reporting on the vital need for the federal government to supply 50% of the funding for the Gateway Project, which would rebuild these decrepit Amtrak tunnels built as far back as 1908 and, on top of that, were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. In one of his columns, this Ombudsman successfully encouraged our county executive, Ed Day, to write to President Trump, urging him to fund this vital project. As recently as 2018 it appeared this this would be done when Trump’s Secretary of Transportation Chao backed this recommendation.

In a complete “about face,” however, a current federal report labels this project as medium-low priority.

An angry letter from Governor Andrew Cuomo to President Donald Trump stated, “I don’t believe this is a difference of opinion. I believe this is political retaliation and I believe it’s terrible, And I believe the president should be called on it and that’s what we’re doing today.”

In the letter, Cuomo states, “We give $32 billion more to the federal government than we get and they add a penalty to the number one donor state. Regardless of the fact that 40 states actually are states that receive more from the federal government than they give, The SALT effect on New York, if it is not repealed can transform the economy. And if we don’t tackle this problem, 10 years from now we will look back and say, ‘what was the turning point in New York’s economic trajectory. You cannot effectively increase taxes in this state to a high of 30 percent without consequence…Second, the president puts out his budget, again with cuts targeted to those same states, and hitting New York dramatically. Medicaid cuts $4 billion this year. How could we even begin to make up a $4 billion cut? The third item that illustrates the same point is the Department of Transportation coming out and saying the Hudson River tunnels are a low priority, which is absurd. They describe the Hudson River Tunnel as 106 year old, owned by Amtrak. Why is that important? Who owns Amtrak? President Donald Trump. That is a Trump tunnel. You know he likes to put his name on properties that he owns? We should put up a big sign as the trains are coming in. ‘you’re entering the Trump tunnel owned by Amtrak.’”

In summary, Ombudsman Alert urges all readers to write to our Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, urging her to support federal funding for the Gateway project and to encourage President Trump to follow through on his previous promise to back this vital project.

Please address all comments and questions to [email protected].

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