Chao: NY, NJ can come up with more money for Gateway rail tunnel project

Chao: NY, NJ can come up with more money for Gateway rail tunnel project
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Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoWhy an independent panel must investigate Boeing crashes 'Distractor in Chief' has made room for unprecedented regulatory reform Trump Cabinet down to three women amid administration turnover MORE told lawmakers on Tuesday that New York and New Jersey should come up with more funding for a multibillion-dollar rail project that would connect the two states.

Chao said during an appearance before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that the $30 billion program, known as the Gateway Project, would take funds away from other transit efforts across the United States.

“It’s going to take money from every other transit project in America,” Chao said.

“New York and New Jersey can come up with larger than zero or 5 percent,” she added.

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New York and New Jersey lawmakers are pushing for answers after the administration backed away from the program, which is aimed at rebuilding passenger rail connections under the Hudson River between Manhattan and Newark, N.J.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE last week reportedly pressed Speaker Ryan (R-Wis.) to withhold funding for Gateway, which has been a crucial focus for lawmakers from New York and New Jersey, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field MORE (D-N.Y.).

Last summer, the Trump administration withdrew from the program’s board. 

And the Federal Transit Administration in a December letter denied the presence of an agreement that says the federal government would split the cost of the project with New Jersey and New York.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr.Donald Milford Payne Jr.Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements New Jersey Dems tell Pentagon not to use military funds for border wall Inside the Trump-Congress Christmas meltdown MORE (D-N.J.) on Tuesday pressed Chao on the states’ commitment to providing half of the funds for the project. But the secretary denied the existence of any documentation for such an accord, saying that New Jersey and New York are seeking to finance the program using loans from the federal government.

“There’s no commitment. There’s no document. There’s no pending application,” Chao told the New Jersey lawmaker, who urged the secretary to “look at the facts” about the project.

The administration would “be more than pleased to look at” any proposal from the states should they submit it in writing, Chao said.

“The misinformation on this project has been stunning,” said Chao.