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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

On Thursday September 7th, elected officials from New York and New Jersey met with President Trump at the White House to discuss the Gateway Program. The President seemed keen to come to an agreement for the multi-billion dollar plan to build a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River. He appeared willing to have the federal government to pay for half of the costs, as reported by the NY Daily News.

Over a dozen elected officials from the two states were present, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Governor Cuomo, and NJ Gov. Chris Christie.  “Nothing was signed off officially but every question had a positive answer. The impression I had was it was as close to being final as it could possibly be,” said King. Schumer agreed saying, “The meeting was positive. The President was receptive and wants to get back to us on Gateway." A White House official called it a “productive meeting.” 

“The expense of the program, which approaches $30 billion, will require a strong partnership to deliver these ... projects in a cost-effective manner by streamlining the permitting process, using innovative procurement techniques, and being creative in the funding and financing of the program,” said the White House official. “The President and his administration remain committed to creating a robust infrastructure package that will modernize and transform our nation's infrastructure.”

Cuomo and Christie would like to fund half of the project cost through the bi-state Port Authority, hoping the other half will be covered by the Federal government. The Gateway Program would include building two tubes under the Hudson River for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains to allow for repairs to be made on the existing tunnels which were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  The bridge in New Jersey over the Hackensack River would be rebuilt. On Wednesday, the House defeated an attempt to stop the $900 million that had already been allotted for the Gateway project.

"We confirmed our original agreement with the previous administration whereby the Port Authority would finance 50% with user fees and the federal government would contribute 50%,” said Gov. Cuomo of the White House meeting. “I also affirmed that it was imperative the project would have to be done using design build like the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, which the President agreed was a success."

A source told the Daily News that, "The President was very complimentary of Andrew — he called him 'the governor, the builder,' and kept saying how impressed he was by the Tappan Zee Bridge — he said he wanted to work with him on one of the airports in New York." 

King said, “The spirit of bipartisanship was there — the President and Chuck Schumer shaking hands three or four times.”

By:  Ilana Siyance