President Joe Biden announced an additional $1.2 billion in grants on January 31, which will go towards various infrastructure projects. These projects include $292 million to build a new rail tunnel that links New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.
The latest announcement comes when the White House is at a standoff between Democrats and Republicans over excessive spending.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) confirmed in a release that Biden has announced that nearly $1.2 billion was awarded from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) discretionary grant program for nine different projects around the country.
“After receiving over one hundred applications, we are proud to fund these nine infrastructure megaprojects across the country to create jobs, strengthen our supply chains, expand our economy, and renew America’s built landscape,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
Included in the funding is $250 million for the Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Kentucky and Ohio, $150 million to replace the Calcasieu River Bridge in Louisiana, and $117 million for the Metra Commuter Railroad in Illinois, which will help to replace 11 bridges and 4 miles of track structure.
The Hudson Tunnel Project is expected to create about 72,000 jobs during its mammoth construction phase. The project will renovate the tunnel’s outdated infrastructure, which transports around 200,000 passengers daily between New Jersey and Manhattan.
The White House claims that passengers faced 12,653 minutes of delay in 2020. Problems with the track systems, electrical power, and signal reportedly caused the delays.
Trump and the Hudson Tunnel Project
While in The White House, former President Donald Trump opposed the Hudson Tunnel Project when it was still called the Gateway Project, arguing that it was not a priority for the federal government to fund and that the two States should bear the majority of the cost.
President Biden is currently under fire from Republicans over what they deem “wasteful spending.” Republicans have suggested that they will agree to raise the debt ceiling only if a concerted plan is implemented to cut back on government spending.
“I want to find a reasonable and a responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling but take control of this runway spending,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was quoted as saying.