NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today applauded the Biden Administration’s decision to reverse a Trump Administration Federal Transit Administration (FTA) policy that prohibited states and local entities from using federal loans as part of their local funding match when applying for federal transportation grants. The move was one of many obstacles the previous administration deployed to stall the Gateway Project, which includes replacing the 110-year-old Portal Bridge and construction of a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel.
“The Trump Administration pulled this ridiculous policy out of thin air in order to delay and derail the Gateway Project,” said Sen. Menendez. “Much like a mortgage loan to buy a house, federal loans that must be repaid by states and other local entities applying for federal transportation grants have long been considered as part of the local funding match. I repeatedly called on the previous administration to reverse course, but they insisted on continuing to ignore the law. The Biden Administration was right to undo Trump’s ill-conceived policy and restore sanity and common sense to the FTA."
After the Trump administration broke precedent to adopt the policy, Sen. Menendez helped lead the effort to include language in subsequent appropriations bills to block that provision.
An over $800 million federal Full Funding Grant Agreement was reached last month that allows construction of a new Portal Bridge to move forward despite four years of arbitrary delays, unsubstantiated rating cuts and other roadblocks put up during the Trump Administration.
Sen. Menendez met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg prior to his confirmation, in which the Secretary expressed support for Gateway and pledged to end the political interference that has slowed the project.