Washington, DC – Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) blasted Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao following a report in Politico that the Secretary designated her personal aide, a special liaison, to help with project approval and grant funding to benefit her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The Politico report alleges Department of Transportation (DOT) aide Todd Inman helped “[pave] the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.”
“Monday’s report brings into question Secretary Chao’s ability to give an unbiased evaluation of projects presented to the Department of Transportation,” said Representative Sherrill. “It deepens the impression that rather than working on behalf of all Americans, this administration is making partisan decisions with respect to our tax dollars. This is yet another blow to the taxpayers of New Jersey, who already subsidize states like Kentucky – a state that gets nearly three times the return on their federal tax dollars as compared to New Jersey.”
Representative Sherrill, who remains committed to funding the Gateway Tunnel, a critical infrastructure project to the people of the 11th District and to the economy of the United States, adds:
“One can’t help but think: would we have already broken ground on Gateway if it were located in Kentucky, not New Jersey and New York?”
Gateway ranks among the lowest of the DOT’s transportation priorities. According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, in 2017, New Jersey only received $0.82 for every dollar sent to the federal government, the second lowest in the entire country. Meanwhile, Kentucky received $2.35 – the second highest federal return for every dollar sent to the federal government – and nearly three times the amount New Jersey received.