Congressman Sires Applauds Inclusion of Gateway Provisions in Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill
(Washington, D.C.) – On Monday, Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) led a letter of New Jersey and New York members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to the House Appropriations Committee. The letter urged them to include language in this year’s transportation funding bill clarifying that certain federal loans must count as the state’s share of transit project costs. Yesterday, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee released the base language for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) which included language stating that Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans must be counted as non-federal share of project costs.
“Everyone agrees that the Gateway Project is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, but the Trump Administration keeps finding excuses to keep the project for receiving the federal assistance it needs,” said Congressman Sires. “If New Jersey and New York had the ability to finance this project ourselves, we would do so. But a project this big and this important to the national economy cannot advance without federal financial assistance. TIFIA loans are one of the resources we count on and, because we are obligated to pay the taxpayers back for their investment, they must count as part of the state’s share.”
“Now is not the time for politicking – the entire Northeast region is dependent on Gateway,” said Congressman Maloney. “This is the most important infrastructure project in the United States, and we need this administration to step up and help us get it across the finish line.”
Last year, the Trump Administration made a sudden and illogical change in the way the government reads the law regarding TIFIA loans. Although the law clearly states that these loans are to be counted as part of the non-federal share of project costs if the costs are paid back with non-federal funds, the Administration decided that TIFIA was a government cost. This decision tipped the cost-share balance against the Gateway Project and has been used as a cudgel against it ever since.
“Including the TIFIA clarifying language in this year’s appropriations bill gives the Gateway Project a fighting chance and is a big win for New Jersey,” said Congressman Sires. “The Project, which includes repairs to the Portal Bridge and the Hudson River Tunnels, is ready to go. We just need the federal government to keep to its commitments.”