Secretary Pete Visits New York
Last week Secretary Buttigieg toured the Hudson River Tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey and visited Syracuse, New York to highlight the bipartisan infrastructure framework and how it can benefit communities across the country.
Visiting the Hudson River Tunnels
Secretary Buttigieg joined Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and members of the New York and New Jersey delegations for a tour of the Gateway Program, a series of rail projects between Newark, NJ and New York City. The tour included the Hudson River Tunnels.
Afterwards the Secretary remarked:
As the Amtrak president said when we were going through the tunnels, [their] building techniques and transportation technology represent the absolute state of the art of 1910. It was the best construction that you could possibly get 110 years ago.
The tunnels were already in need of an upgrade when they were seriously damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Since then, there have been frequent issues that cause delays and shutdowns on Amtrak and NJ Transit, delaying thousands of passengers for hours. A failure of the tunnels would cause economic impacts not just to the region but to the nation’s economy. USDOT recently issued a record of decision that is allowing the Gateway Program to move forward. On the trip Senator Schumer also pledged that he would find the funding to advance the program and called on local leaders to do the same.
After the tour the Majority Leader hosted a press conference in Penn Station with Secretary Buttigieg and other officials including:
- Senator Schumer
- Senator Booker
- Representative Jerry Nadler
- Representative Frank Pallone
- Representative Mikie Sherrill
- Representative Donald Payne Jr.
- Amtrak Chairman Coscia
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Later that day, the secretary’s tour took him to Broadway where Stephen Colbert welcomed Secretary Buttigieg back to The Late Show.
Day 2: Syracuse, NY
Visiting Syracuse’s Highway I-81
Secretary Buttigieg then went to Syracuse, where he joined a roundtable conversation with Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Mayor Walsh, Onodaga County Executive McMahon, Syracuse Common Council President Hudson, and representatives from NYSDOT, CNY Building & Trades, the Urban Jobs Task Force, the Syracuse chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Syracuse Housing Authority, CenterState, and Syracuse University. The conversation focused on the community’s vision for replacing a section of I-81 with a grid to knit neighborhoods back together that the highway had divided.
The roundtable was followed by a press conference where Secretary Buttigieg said:
“Every decision about transportation is necessarily a decision about justice. It’s a decision about our future.”
The Secretary talked about the opportunity that the bipartisan infrastructure framework presents to create a more equitable transportation network for the nation.
Highlighting the Push to Get Americans Vaccinated
On the final stop of his tour, the Secretary visited the Onondaga County Civic Center’s vaccine clinic to highlight how easy and important it is to get vaccinated. While the U.S. and New York have both made incredible progress in reaching President Biden’s 70% vaccination rate, the Secretary reminded the public of the danger that the pandemic still poses to those who remain unvaccinated.
In New York, and across the country, Americans are counting on support for urgent repairs to our infrastructure. The bipartisan infrastructure framework is a once in a generation opportunity to address these needs and build the infrastructure our nation needs to compete and win in the 21st century.