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NYers in Trump’s ear
As President Donald Trump focuses on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, there’s some hope for New York.
Two NYC business executives Trump has brought on as his infrastructure advisers understand the region’s infrastructure needs firsthand. They are billionaire builder Richard LeFrak and real estate honcho Steven Roth, who heads Vornado Realty Trust. If Trump depends on them to define the most important projects, the proposed Gateway train tunnel under the Hudson River is sure to be on the list.
Key will be the officials heading up the U.S. Department of Transportation. Secretary Elaine Chao told a Senate committee during her confirmation hearing that “any project in New York, New Jersey would be very important going into the future.”
And then there’s her No. 2. Trump nominated Kirkland & Ellis senior partner Jeffrey Rosen as the DOT’s deputy secretary, and his appointment is moving along in the Senate. While Rosen has been based in Washington much of his career, his previous comments on Amtrak are worth a look. Amtrak’s continued problems trying to manage Penn Station in Manhattan were highlighted this week as commuters, including those on the Long Island Rail Road, continued to reel from the delays and cancellations associated with this week’s derailment of an NJ Transit train.
Rosen, who previously served as the DOT’s general counsel, has been a critic of Amtrak. More than a decade ago, he argued that “reform and improvement of the system is urgently needed.”
Perhaps Rosen’s voice in the ears of Chao and Trump might mean some reforms will finally come, and that is only good news for Long Island Rail Road riders.
Randi F. Marshall
Even as the White House takes steps to work with Democrats in Congress, and rumors about a shakeup in Oval Office staff abound, Capitol Hill’s leading Democrat is moving in the opposite direction.
Friday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer threw verbal hand grenades via Twitter about the Trump administration’s record on jobs. Schumer reminded the Twitterverse of the disappointing March jobs report released Friday. Just 98,000 jobs were created last month; economists had anticipated 180,000.
Schumer tweeted that despite Trump’s populist campaign message, this is evidence that he’s “prioritizing special interests. 11 wks into his administration, we have seen nothing from Pres. Trump on infrastructure, trade, or any other serious job-creating initiative.”
Is Schumer setting an agenda or outlining the topical expertise Trump’s new right-hand man will need?
Southern State woes
Come one, come all
It’s a weekend of open houses — but only one will get you a chance to buy tickets to see the New York Islanders.
On Saturday, the doors of the Nassau Coliseum will be open so members of the public who registered in advance can take a look at the renovated arena. They’ll have the chance to taste some of the arena’s food offerings, and there’ll be face painting, games and a photo booth.
The next day, the New York Islanders are holding an event of their own — at the Barclays Center. Potential Islanders ticket buyers, who also need to register in advance, can check out possible seat locations and ticket pricing, and learn about “newly available locations.” That’s a pitch, of course, for purchasing tickets for next season.
Islanders fans, of course, may wish they could roll the two open houses into one and buy Islanders tickets in Uniondale. But for now, there’s no hockey on the Coliseum schedule. Indeed, later on Sunday, the Coliseum will host a concert by pop star Marc Anthony. Meanwhile, the Islanders will play their final game of the regular season — in Brooklyn.
Randi F. Marshall