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$1T infrastructure plan has $149B for national transit, source says

LIRR employees in Speonk working on the tracks.

LIRR employees in Speonk working on the tracks. Credit: John Roca

WASHINGTON — A roughly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal that leaders of a bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday they’re ready to bring up on the Senate floor would include nearly $149 billion for New York national transit and railroad projects.

That massive investment that’s now in the top-line dollar amounts in the infrastructure proposal includes $89.9 billion for transit and $59 billion for rail, according to a source close to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

A procedural vote to bring the plan to the floor for debate and amendments could come as early as Wednesday evening, after a group of Republicans and Democrats spent more than a month negotiating the scope, costs and ways to pay for the bill among themselves.

"We now have an agreement on the major issues, and we’re prepared to move forward," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a lead negotiator for his party in bipartisan talks, told reporters midday Wednesday.

In his opening floor address Wednesday morning, Schumer alerted senators that they "should be prepared to vote again, on cloture, on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as tonight."

The proposal's transit and rail funding for could help pay for major projects such as the Gateway Program, which would include the Hudson River tunnel, the Penn Access project and the Second Avenue subway.

The final amount for the overall infrastructure proposal, and the actual New York transit and train funding, could change during the legislative process on the Senate floor, in the House or in a conference committee to iron out differences between the two chambers.

Though a bipartisan group of 22 senators — including 11 Republicans — agreed to the broad framework with President Joe Biden, several Republicans are expected to oppose the bill.

"We have some people who are going to be really dug in against it no matter what," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters. "How much they try to slow or delay or stop, it remains to be seen."

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) joked with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) about Schumer’s request for so much money for New York transit, according to tweets about their conversation.

"Actually, I asked if Chuck is going to gold-plate every rail in the NYC subway system. He’s asking for enough money to do that," Cotton tweeted Tuesday.

A source close to Schumer responded to that jab: "Schumer’s priorities were at the front burner as the numbers were finalized."

Editor's note -- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of transit and rail funding that would go to New York.

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