New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday met with President Donald Trump to discuss New York’s three infrastructure projects for economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was about how do we supercharge the reopening, especially New York, which was the hardest hit,” Cuomo said afterward at a press conference at the National Press Club, recalling the meeting with the president.
Cuomo said he proposed the federal government help them move forward on rebuilding the cross Hudson River tunnels, part of the Gateway Project, the Second Avenue subway extension to Harlem, and the construction of the AirTrain to LaGuardia airport.
Cuomo said the federal government could help him move quickly on these three projects
“It doesn’t require any new legislation. They’ve been in the pipeline forever, and his administration can just do it, and we can get it up and running,” he said.
Cuomo said his meeting was productive but did not offer any conclusive commitments from the president.
“It was a good conversation, the president is from New York, so he has a context for all the things we are talking about,” he said, recalling that “he’s a builder, he’s a developer, he gets it.”
Cuomo argued that he did not blame Trump for the nursing home deaths in his state, but repeated his assertion that the state was only following federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control in his administration.
Cuomo also said he appreciated that Trump was focusing on reopening the economy.
“I think the president is focused on the reopening, on stimulating the economy, on getting the economy back,” he said. “I think that is the correct focus.”
But Cuomo spent most of his press conference criticizing Senate Republicans for blocking emergency federal funding for New York to help fill budget shortfalls as a result of the coronavirus.
Cuomo added that the coronavirus pandemic was a historic opportunity for action on infrastructure but acknowledged that previous administrations had failed to develop any significant projects.
“When is there going to be a better moment in history to do it?” he asked. “At least build things that we can leave our children like our grandparents did for us.”