WASHINGTON — A day after the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan became law, Sen. Chuck Schumer on Friday began touting the next big thing — a massive national infrastructure bill that could fund New York’s lagging Gateway and East Side access transit projects.
Schumer, the Democratic Senate majority leader, in an address on Zoom Friday to the Long Island Association had plenty to say about his party’s just-enacted relief and stimulus package, and how it helps New York and Long Island.
"New York does extremely well, extremely well. And I made sure of that. I’ve got some clout. I use my formula always to benefit New York," Schumer said. "New York and New York institutions got about $200 billion over the last few bills."
Schumer said after he became majority leader in January he removed the Republicans' blockade against more aid to state and local governments.
"I made it my business to make sure it was robust this time. And what we did is we got $350 billion," with 60% for state governments and the rest for local governments, he said.
Prompted by LIA president and CEO Kevin Law, Schumer turned to the next major challenge for him — a sweeping infrastructure package.
"I think we’ll have a big infrastructure bill because the goal here is not simply to get out of the ditch of COVID, but to get the economy growing and wages growing like they were in the '70s, '80s and '90s into a 3 or 4% level, not a 1 or 2% level," Schumer said.
"In the past it’s had bipartisan support. I'm hopeful it will again," he said.
Topping the list will be water and sewer projects, Schumer said. But in a big infrastructure bill he’ll push the Gateway and East Side access projects and also will try to lift the cap on deductions for state and local taxes.
Schumer said New York will have allies such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and deputy secretary nominee Polly Trottenberg, who recently resigned as commissioner of New York City's Department of Transportation.
"The good news here is not only is Buttigieg the new Transportation secretary," Schumer said, "but the deputy that has been nominated is a woman named Polly Trottenberg. She worked for me for nine years and she's dedicated to helping us get Gateway done."