Earlier this year, federal officials announced a $7 billion commitment to the Gateway Tunnel project — the largest-ever federal transit grant, and a recognition that replacing the current, deteriorating rail tunnel under the Hudson River is of national importance.
“If the Hudson Tunnel were to go out of service, you’d be feeling the economic consequences of that all the way back at my house in Michigan,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told NY1.
What You Need To Know
- U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is in New York City this week to highlight federal funding for major transit projects
- The federal government has made a $7 billion commitment to the Gateway Tunnel project, which will replace the current aging rail tunnel under the Hudson River
- The next phase of the Second Avenue subway, which will extend the Q train into East Harlem, is in line for $3.4 billion in federal funding
- Buttigieg took no position on congestion pricing, saying it’s up to “the state, the MTA and all of the other parties to work out the details”
Buttigieg is in New York City this week in part to highlight that funding.
On Thursday, he appeared at a town hall-style forum hosted by CUNY’s Hunter College.
“That’s what we’re doing. We’re building big things,” he told the audience, which included students from Hunter College and Cornell University.
Next week marks the two-year anniversary of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and Buttigieg has been out reminding the public of the bill’s benefits at a time that President Joe Biden’s poll numbers continue to sag.
“It’s our job, and in many ways my job, to remind the American public how these projects are getting done,” Buttigieg told NY1. “They didn’t just fall out of the sky. They’re here because President Biden fought hard for the funding to get them done.”
In an exclusive sit-down interview, Buttigieg also sang the praises of the Second Avenue subway, which is in line for $3.4 billion in federal funding as the MTA extends the line to underserved areas of East Harlem.
“There are far too many neighbors, residents, commuters who have been left out of the benefits that other neighborhoods experience with that subway service,” Buttigieg said. “This Second Avenue subway improvement can change all of that.”
Buttigieg was more coy on the controversial topic of congestion pricing. It’s not the federal government’s place to support or oppose the project, he said, even if the administration did help move along the process.
“Look, the Trump administration put a lot of red tape in the way, using the environmental process as an excuse,” Buttigieg said. “We stopped that. We’re not going to do that. We’re not going to put a thumb on the scale. We’re going to make sure the law is followed. And that’s exactly what we’ve done through that environmental review. The environmental review was completed. Now it’s down to the state, the MTA and all of the other parties to work out the details.”