NJ.com » U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is threatening to block President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Federal Transit Administration, claiming Thelma Drake changed her answers about the Gateway Tunnel project after meeting with him. Under Senate rules, any individual lawmaker can put a hold a nominee, preventing a floor vote.
Bloomberg » The powerful Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee scolded Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for not supporting the Gateway rail bridge and tunnel projects in New York and New Jersey, as lawmakers from the region keep up their fight with the Trump administration over money for the program.
Politico » The deadline may be self-imposed, but it is meaningful. Planners had been pursuing a two-year expedited environmental review process in the hopes of making a July deadline to access federal funding and launching the procurement process this summer. Now, the federal government is threatening to throw a wrench into the whole schedule.
The New York Times » The astronomical costs of building the Second Avenue subway and other New York public transit projects are now the subject of a federal inquiry. The Government Accountability Office said on Wednesday that it was preparing to launch a study of why transit construction is so much more expensive in the United States than in other parts of the world.
The Journal News » Within three years, Binghamton University and Rutgers University researchers hope to perfect a fungus — rather than a bacteria — that will organically heal cracks that develop in concrete. Moisture that seeps in would germinate the fungus, which would create mineral deposits that could fill cracks even larger than those used in the bacteria experiments.
NJ.com » The Gateway Tunnel project will get $540 million in the spending bill funding the federal government through Sept. 30. In addition, the project will be eligible to apply for a share of $2.9 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation grants. While the bill itself doesn’t specifically mention Gateway, the project will receive funding from several federal accounts.