President Trump on Monday warned that the nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels are unsafe — and he singled out New York’s Lincoln and Midtown tunnels as among the most dangerous.
“I mean, we have tunnels in New York where the tiles are on the ceiling and you see many tiles missing and you wonder, you’re driving 40, 50 miles per hour through a tunnel,” the president told a gathering of governors at the White House.
“Take a look at the Lincoln Tunnel and the Queens Midtown tunnel, you’re driving and you see all this loose material, and it’s heavy, it was made many years ago, it’s heavy. Today it’s light. It used to be better. The problem is you have to hold it [in place].”
The president then contemplated the number of people who might have suffered injuries as a result of the falling tiles.
“Say, man, I wonder how many people are hurt or injured when they’re driving at 40, 50 miles an hour through a tunnel and a tile falls off. And there are so many missing tiles. And such loose concrete. So we have to fix our infrastructure,” he said.
Trump is expected to announce details of his infrastructure spending plan — a key campaign promise, during his speech to Congress Tuesday night, which he said had been neglected for decades while the US frittered away trillions on wars.
“I’m going to have a big statement tomorrow night on infrastructure. We spend $6 trillion in the Middle East and we have potholes all over our highways and our roads,” he said.
He then told an anecdote about a friend to make his point.
“I have a friend who is in the trucking business. He said, my trucks are destroyed going from New York to Lost Angeles.
The roads are so bad that by the time we make the journey from New York to Los Angeles or back, he said the equipment is just beat to hell,” the president said.
“I said, ‘When has it been like that before?’ He said, ‘It’s never’ — he’s been in business for 40 years. He said,
‘It’s never been like that.’ Forty years, never been like that. So we’re going to take care of that infrastructure.
We’re going to start spending on infrastructure, big. And not like we have a choice,” he said.
‘It’s not like, ‘Oh, gee, let’s hold it off.’ Our highways, our bridges are unsafe. Our tunnels — it’s not like we have a choice. We have no choice, and we’re going to do it. And it also happens to mean jobs, which is a good thing.”
Officials did not immediately respond to requests for information about the number of people injured by falling tiles or loose concrete in the tunnels.
The trashing of New York infrastructure is bipartisan. Former Vice President Joe Biden once referred to La Guardia Airport as a “third world” facility.
A spokeswoman for the MTA, which manages the Midtown Tunnel, said no one had been injured by falling tiles.
“Not a single person has been injured by any falling tiles because no tiles are falling – they are being replaced by workers as part of an infrastructure project to repair the tunnel from Hurricane Sandy damage,” she told The Post.
A rep for the port Authority, which oversees the Lincoln Tunnel, did not immediately return a request for comment.
But a worker at the Lincoln Tunnel laughed and replied, “That’s funny,” when asked about the president’s comments.
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