WASHINGTON - Two major priorities of New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) have been included in the draft text of the fiscal year 2019 U.S. Department of Transportation Appropriations Act.
The Northeast Corridor rail projects could earn up to $2.2 billion in new funding included in the bill and language Lance inserted into the draft text will create a reimbursement program for local airports and businesses shuttered due to the protection of President Trump at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“Without a new tunnel under the Hudson River the movement of people and goods up and down the East Coast will grind to a halt. That has been my message to colleagues in Congress and we are winning new bipartisan support in our effort to advance this national priority,” said Lance, who led the effort to protect similar funding in the fiscal year 2018 spending measure.
Lance also worked with the Appropriations Committee to include legislative language to create a federal reimbursement system for airports and businesses forced to close due to Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) imposed while President Trump is at Trump National or in Florida. $3.5 million will go to reimbursing those grounded by TFRs.
“It is a matter of fairness that airports and businesses grounded by no fault of their own see some type of compensation. Protecting the President and First Family is the highest priority, but accommodations should be made for those where livelihood is reduced when the President is in town,” Lance continued.
The Northeast Corridor ($650 million), State of Good Repair ($500 million) and Core Capacity ($550 million) and New Start ($500 million) grants all could contribute to projects related to a new tunnel under the Hudson River, including the Gateway Tunnel and Portal Bridge Project. These funds and new resources for grounded flights still need to go through the legislative process and pass both federal chambers.
Lance worked to secure these priorities in the bill, but lawmakers can attempt to target line items in the bill. Such an action occurred last year when a lawmaker from North Carolina offered an amendment removing the Gateway funds. Lance led the effort to defeat to the amendment when it was offered on the House Floor. When the U.S. Senate failed to advance last year’s spending measure, Lance and other pro-Gateway lawmakers successfully secured the funding in the omnibus appropriations package.