by Itunuoluwa Adebo
President Trump said he was considering fast tracking the introduction of his $1 trillion infrastructure bill, but pointedly refused to say whether he planned to include two major New York City transportation projects that his budget for next year would defund.
Trump, speaking in a wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office on Wednesday, described the infrastructure package as a high-value legislative sweetener that he could attach to a revived Affordable Care Act repeal bill or tax code overhaul to attract bipartisan support that he had neither sought nor received.
“Infrastructure is so popular that I might want to use it for another bill,” said Mr. Trump, who is in need of a legislative win after the defeat of his health care bill last month. “Infrastructure is so popular with the Democrats and pretty popular with the Republicans. A lot of Republicans want infrastructure, too.”
The president, who has proposed eliminating an Obama-era infrastructure program that would have funded long-delayed proposals to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, and extend the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan north to East Harlem.
Trump said he planned to examine both New York projects and submit them to an as-yet unformed “commission” and that he may support them.
He also added “I did great in real estate in New York,” he added. “I know all the developers. I know all of the folks. I know the good ones and the bad ones. And I’m setting up a commission of very smart people that know how to spend money properly, that know how to build on time, on budget. And ideally, under time and under budget.”