FOIA Requests Aimed At Trump Administration Dropped on Every NJ and NY Major Transit Organization Around Gateway Project Delays

Restore Public Trust suspects Secretary Chao slow rolling Gateway Project while fast tracking Kentucky infrastructure spending to benefit her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 

Public Records Requests are focused on emails from US Department of Transportation officials to local agencies

NEW YORK, NY  — This week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) , Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC), Amtrak, the Port Authority and NJ and NY Transportation Departments will receive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about email correspondence with the  federal government about the Gateway Tunnel Project. Restore Public Trust, a non-partisan public interest group, will file the requests as a part of their charge to  expose corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of government. The filings look to uncover the truth behind Gateway Tunnel Project delays, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s unwillingness to move the project forward while her department has fast-tracked Kentucky infrastructure projects to benefit her husband Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

The Gateway tunnel is one of the nation’s most significant pieces of transportation infrastructure —and one of its largest bottlenecks—carrying 200,000 passengers daily under the Hudson River. Superstorm Sandy badly damaged the century-old infrastructure that links the entire Northeast Corridor. Experts have concluded that the tunnel could fail at any time, paralyzing the densely populated Northeast Corridor that runs from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Restore Public Trust plans to use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, open records requests, and related litigation to expose Secretary Chao’s work to undermine the Gateway Tunnel Project for political retaliation, once again affirming Chao’s commitment to using her government position for her own purposes instead of the public good.

“Secretary Chao has consistently leveraged her taxpayer-funded role for her own personal gain, for her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political career and for the financial profit of her family,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “Given Chao’s history, it’s no surprise that she may be using her position to help stall this critical project for political retaliation and her own political gain.  Chao’s political games could land the Northeast corridor of the US, an area responsible for 20% of our nation’s GDP, in crisis. It’s time for Chao and the Trump administration to stop playing political games with our country’s economy and fast track the Gateway Tunnel project now.”  

Secretary Chao has a long history of using her own position to help herself and her family. Chao has used her position to award millions of grant dollars to Kentucky, the state where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will face tough re-election for Senate in 2020.  She even designated a special liaison to help Kentucky navigate this funding process, a resource that other states don’t have. Chao has also used her position to help her family’s shipping company profit overseas, which resulted in millions in donations and personal gifts to help her husband’s political career. And despite a written commitment to immediately divest in companies that directly lobbies her department, Chao failed to do so.  

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