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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 ChaoMcMaster: Trump running again would be 'terribly divisive' Azar in exit letter to Trump says Capitol riot could 'tarnish' legacy READ: Departure letter from HHS Secretary Azar to Trump 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 TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT 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 SchumerChuck SchumerCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Biden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs 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.Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Harris hops past Biden in early race for Black Caucus support New Jersey Dems tell Pentagon not to use military funds for border wall 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.