Booker Strongly Opposes U.S. DOT Nominee Due to Lack of Commitment to Infrastructure Funding
Senator cites crippling impact of recent derailment on Northeast Corridor, economic loss in call to increase infrastructure investment
WASHINGTON, DC – In the wake of crippling delays for NJ Transit rail and on the Northeast Corridor as a result of recent derailments, today U.S. Senator Cory Booker strongly opposed the nomination of Jeff Rosen as Deputy Secretary to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) due to Mr. Rosen’s lack of commitment to supporting funding for New Starts and other critical programs for our nation’s infrastructure, including the Gateway Program. A budget proposal released by the Trump Administration in March zeros-out the New Starts capital grant program, which threatens to terminate work on critical components to Gateway including replacing the Portal Bridge and new trans-Hudson rail tunnels.
As part of his commitment to moving the Gateway Program forward, in December Sen. Booker joined U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Charles Schumer (D-NY) to announce provisions benefiting Gateway that were included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the first Federal law in over ten years to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation.
Sen. Booker fought to have several key provisions incorporated into the FAST Act to help provide reliable funding sources for the Gateway Program. These include measures enabling Amtrak for the first time to reinvest revenue from the Northeast Corridor back into the Northeast Corridor and allowing more flexibility in financing for vital infrastructure projects like Gateway by permitting repayment of federal Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans 35 years from project completion.
In March 2016, Sens. Booker and Schumer led a letter to Federal appropriators, signed by Sen. Menendez, calling for robust funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor for Fiscal Year 2017, including funding for grant programs authorized in the FAST Act to help address the state of good repair backlog along with safety improvements.
In August 2015 Sen. Booker convened a meeting in his office with Senator Menendez, Governor Christie and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Foxx to discuss governance and funding for the Gateway Program. Coming out of that meeting, in November Sen. Booker joined Governors Christie and Cuomo and Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand in announcing they reached an agreement on funding commitments and a governance structure that will allow Gateway Tunnel Project to move forward.