(NEW YORK) — President Joe Biden hit the road again Tuesday as part of a multi-day pitch to Americans on the benefits of the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year, stopping Tuesday in New York City to tout funding for the Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project.
“This is just the beginning,” Biden said, as he described how the law was transforming American infrastructure. “It’s the beginning of finally constructing a 21st century rail system that’s long, long overdue in this country. This project is critical to transforming the Northeast Corridor, increasing speeds, capacity, reliability and safety.”
From the West Side Rail Yard, Biden announced $292 million in funding from the infrastructure law Tuesday to complete a critical early phase of the Hudson Tunnel Project intended to improve travel between New York and New Jersey.
The project “will result in 72,000 good-paying jobs, rehabilitate the old North River Tunnel which opened in 1910, build a new tunnel beneath the Palisades, Hudson River, and the waterfront area in Manhattan, and improve reliability for 200,000-weekday passengers on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak,” according to the White House.
So far, the Biden administration has announced over $185 billion in funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, the White House told ABC News. That money is going to over 7,000 projects — ranging from building and repairing roads, bridges, ports, and airports; to investing in clean energy and clean water; cleaning up legacy pollution; and funding access to high-speed internet — and by end of the year, the administration expects the total number of projects to far exceed 20,000, according to the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, joining Biden in his home state Tuesday, mocked former President Donald Trump for being unable to achieve the same. If Biden runs for reelection, as he’s expected to do, he could again face Trump — the only Republican candidate to so far declare candidacy.
“For four years, the former president was shoveling you know what, and now we’re going to put real shovels in the ground, wielded by real American workers. That’s the basic contrast between this presidency in the last,” a smiling Schumer said. “Get on the Joe Biden express now because we are not stopping.”
Introducing Biden, Schumer called the president “Mr. Amtrak.”
“This is one of the biggest most consequential projects in the country,” Biden said, tempering expectations. “But it’s going to take time. It’s a multi-billion-dollar effort between the states and the federal government but we finally have the money and we’re going to get it done. I promise you, we’re going to get it done.”
The trip to tout rail infrastructure comes after a similar appearance Monday in Baltimore and one week before Biden’s State of the Union — the first time Biden will address a joint session of Congress with the newly-empowered Republican majority in the House.
Biden, who commuted daily between Wilmington and Washington as a senator, said he’s traveled more than one million miles on Amtrak and understands how the economy runs stronger when transportation runs on time.
“To have the best economy in the world, you have to have the best infrastructure in the world,” he added.
In New York, Biden was joined by Gov. Kathy Hochul, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Bob Menendez, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and other local leaders.
Biden visited Baltimore on Monday to kick off a $6 billion rail tunnel reconstruction project primarily funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law; federal funding could reach up to $4.7 billion, according to the White House. The new tunnel will replace the aging Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, and remove what the White House says is the largest bottleneck between New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
He and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to travel to Philadelphia on Friday to discuss removing lead pipes – another initiative funded by the infrastructure law — to cap off a week highlighting federal investments in infrastructure.
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