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House Votes for Gateway Project Funds on Day of Trump’s Meeting

Sept. 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—The march to trillions in national credit for infrastructure may start with a single billion. On the day (Sept. 7) that President Trump met in the White House with 16 state and Federal elected officials from New York and New Jersey on the "Gateway Project," the House of Representatives voted 260-159 to put $906 million for the Gateway Project into the Transportation Department budget. The vote followed by one day, Trump’s deal with Democratic leaders on hurricane recovery, government funding and temporary removal of the debt ceiling. That package was then passed into law Sept. 8.

The Gateway funding amendment was by two Republicans from New Jersey, Reps. Leonard Lance and Rodney Freylinghousen—the latter is Appropriations Committee Chairman.

The President’s support (through Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao) will be necessary to get this through the Senate. Rep. Albio Sires of New York, a Democrat, said after the White House meeting, "President Trump promised to do everything he could to get the project moving." Rep. Josh Gottheimer, (D-N.J.) said "I’m optimistic this is going to move forward," and Amtrak officials were expressing confidence. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said,

"We really had an opportunity to lay it all out. We talked about how important it was to the economy. It was also important to get in a sense of urgency. There’s a real danger that the existing tunnels could collapse and not be usable."

The White House discussion of the Gateway Project included specifying that designing and building the Portal Bridge and new Hudson tunnels should be a single project and single contract ("design-build") in order to speed it up. Trump also indicated support for renovations to LaGuardia and Newark Airports and perhaps transit links between them.

Gateway involves multi-year construction of new rail projects with no new "user fee" cash flow—there is no public-private partnership temptation here. But the project requires Federal grants and credits of at least $13-15 billion, at a pace of $3-4 billion/year. The only way to fund such projects is through a Federal capital budget in the way Lyndon LaRouche has defined it, well above the national infrastructure depreciation level which is over $100 billion/year.

The Representatives suddenly optimistic about Gateway should therefore be signing up to introduce a national bank for multi-trillion dollar credits for infrastructure and manufacturing into Congress, again on the "Hamiltonian" model outlined in LaRouche’s 2014 "four economic laws to save the nation."