Cuomo describes productive discussion with Trump on infrastructure

Cuomo describes productive discussion with Trump on infrastructure
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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoGovernors air frustrations with Trump on unemployment plans State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for coronavirus over two weeks last month MORE (D) said his meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE on Wednesday focused on investing in infrastructure projects to “supercharge” a U.S. economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Washington, D.C., Cuomo described his conversation with Trump as productive and said the president is considering his appeal to the federal government to help fast-track infrastructure projects in New York, which is among the states hardest hit by the novel coronavirus.

“It was a good discussion, he understood what we were talking about, understood what we need, and he’s going to be thinking about it, talk to his team, and he said we’ll talk next week,” Cuomo said.

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The New York governor said infrastructure spending would help revive the U.S. economy, pointing to the job growth it would spur. Cuomo specifically mentioned the $30 billion Gateway Tunnel project, the Second Avenue Subway project, which is pending federal approval, and a plan to build an air train to LaGuardia airport, which is pending an environmental review by the Department of Transportation.

“I asked if that could be accelerated because we already did an environmental review,” Cuomo said of the air train proposal.

Cuomo met with Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning before the president departed for a trip to Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness a historic NASA space launch.

Trump in late March called for a $2 trillion infrastructure package as part of a response to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the White House has sought to tap the breaks on the next phase of coronavirus relief, saying officials need to fully assess the impact of the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package signed into law at the end of March.

Cuomo acknowledged Wednesday that he and Trump have “political differences,” but said the two have put aside those issues in dealing with one another during the pandemic.

“It was not about politics,” the New York Democrat said of the meeting. “It was about how do we supercharge the reopening especially in New York which has been hardest hit, how do we take some of these big infrastructure projects that have been sitting around for a long time — which if we were all smarter and better we would have done them 30 years ago — and actually get them up and running because we have to do this work anyway and because we need the jobs now more than ever.”

“If he gives us the green light this is not going to be years of discussion. I have a shovel in the trunk of my car, we’ll start this afternoon, right?” Cuomo said.