Cuomo finds com­mon ground with Trump

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS - By David Klep­per

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump has made big prom­ises when it comes to build­ing new high­ways, tun­nels, bridges and air­ports in Amer­ica — and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hop­ing he makes good on his word.

Cuomo has em­barked on projects to re­build Penn Sta­tion and LaGuardia and Kennedy air­ports, and to re­place the ag­ing Tappan Zee Bridge. There are also plans to in­vest bil­lions of dol­lars into upstate high­ways, mod­ern­ize New York City’s sub­ways and build a new rail tun­nel un­der the Hud­son River.

Fed­eral sup­port could be crit­i­cal to get­ting the work done. And while they dis­agree on im­mi­gra­tion, abor­tion and many other is­sues, the Demo­crat Cuomo is hop­ing a fond­ness for build­ing things can be the com­mon ground with the Repub­li­can Trump. Cuomo said he spoke to Trump the day af­ter the elec­tion and specif­i­cally men­tioned the im­por­tance of in­fra­struc­ture.

“He is a New Yorker,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Trump is very much a pri­vate sec­tor builder . ... So, he has a nat­u­ral ori­en­ta­tion to­ward the needs of this type of ur­ban area. I think that’s a good thing.”

Trump has be­moaned the state of Amer­i­can in­fra­struc­ture, say­ing some of it re­minds him of the Third World. He has called for a mas­sive push to re­build roads, air­ports, the power grid and other in­fra­struc­ture. One plan would cost as much as $1 tril­lion, to be funded pri­mar­ily through pri­vate in­vest­ment en­cour­aged by big tax in­cen­tives.

“We will build the roads, high­ways, bridges, tun­nels, air­ports and the rail­ways of to­mor­row,” Trump said in his speech at the Repub­li­can National Con­ven­tion. “This, in turn, will cre­ate mil­lions more jobs.”

Mes­sages left with the Trump tran­si­tion team re­gard­ing spe­cific in­vest­ments in New York state projects were not re­turned.

Trump and Cuomo have known each other for decades as the two Queens na­tives built pro­fes­sional lives in New York City. Trump had a cor­dial re­la­tion­ship with for­mer Gov. Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s late fa­ther, that turned sour in the’90s. Trump was briefly men­tioned as a pos­si­ble chal­lenger to Cuomo in the 2014 gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion.

Any co­op­er­a­tion on in­fra­struc­ture be­tween Trump and Cuomo could be un­der­mined, how­ever, by their sharp dis­agree­ments on most other is­sues. Cuomo has taken a harder line since their post­elec­tion phone call, ex­press­ing con­cerns about what Trump’s elec­tion has meant for racial tol­er­ance and im­mi­gra­tion. His name was also added to the list of Democrats seen as pos­si­ble con­tenders for the White House in 2020.

“That could impact the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the pres­i­dent-elect and the gover­nor,” said Larry Brid­well, in­ter­na­tional busi­ness pro­fes­sor at Pace Univer­sity. But he added that sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture in and around New York City would have one other added ben­e­fit for Trump: “It would ob­vi­ously in­crease the real es­tate value of the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Sev­eral of the projects on New York state’s to-dolist can’t be ac­com­plished with­out sig­nif­i­cant fed­eral in­vest­ment. The Hud­son Rail tun­nel, which would ease con­ges­tion on busy com­muter rail lines com­ing from New Jer­sey, is ex­pected to cost $20 bil­lion. New York and New Jer­sey have agreed to pay for half of the work, with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on the hook for the re­main­ing $10 bil­lion.

Am­trak CEO Wick Moorman said Wed­nes­day at a packed Penn Sta­tion that he is hope­ful about Trump’s talk on in­fra­struc­ture, espe­cially be­cause of the need for an­other Hud­son River tun­nel.

“We have two. They’re a hun­dred-plus years old. They have to be re­ha­bil­i­tated. We’re out of space in the sta­tion, we’re out of space in the tun­nels, we have hun­dred-yearold bridges on both sides of Man­hat­tan,” he said. “So there’re huge projects like that and we’re very op­ti­mistic that if there’s money for in­fra­struc­ture a lot of these ba­sic needs are go­ing to be ad­dressed.”

Fed­eral sup­port is also vi­tal to main­tain­ing the state’s drink­ing wa­ter and sewer sys­tems, which will need an es­ti­mated $80 bil­lion in re­pairs, re­place­ments and up­grades over the next two decades.

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