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Joe Biden

Wednesday’s Headlines: Biden Our Time Edition

12:34 AM EST on February 1, 2023

We got this close to the president! Photo: Dave Colon

We sent Dave Colon to Hudson Yards yesterday to chase President Biden as he celebrated the awarding of a grant for the Gateway Tunnel project that covers about half the price of a concrete casing that's being built under the development to preserve the right-of-way for the day when the new cross-Hudson passenger rail tubes are built.

What Colon got was a lot of speeches — from Governors Hochul (New York) and Murphy (New Jersey), from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) and both Jersey senators, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker. Also there was an LIRR train named after the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (approximately one million people online have pointed out that the LIRR will not use the Gateway tunnels, so please do not point this out in the comments).

Colon said that members of the city press grew slightly feral through all of this, perhaps due to the lack of any Q and A, maybe because of the unceasing John Philip Sousa soundtrack between speakers or possibly because they'd heard and will hear the same speeches about Gateway for much of the rest of their natural lives (the new tunnels won't be done until 2035).

Eventually it was down to Mr. Gateway himself, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who introduced Amtrak Joe. The president not only used his time to tout the necessity of the Gateway project and the many wonders of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (oodles of money means oodles of union construction jobs), but also to attempt to stir the spirit of the nation, since if we can build a train tunnel, we can, apparently, do anything.

"So I've long said it's been a really bad bet to bet against America," the president said to applause from the gathered elected officials and various functionaries including former New York DOT Commissioner who was demoted to federal Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.

Lots of outlets covered it, including the Daily News (with an anti-Amtrak editorial), the Post (suggesting that Biden should be mocked for cheering a tunnel that will be built after he's gone), the Times (times two), amNY, and Crain's.

In other news:

    • Warren Zevon knew how to honor Georgia O'Keeffe. But the MTA? Not so much. (NY Post)
    • It's going to be cold this weekend. (Gothamist)
    • Does Chinatown need a gate? (Curbed)
    • Did you see this Open Plans summer internship opportunity?
    • The best new bike lanes are in New Jersey, Providence, Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, suburban D.C. and even South Carolina and Indiana. (People for Bikes)
    • Micromobility like scooters and e-bikes deserve more attention in conversations around climate change. (Smart Cities Dive)
    • This Associated Press story frames the Biden administration’s fix-it-first policy as a blow to put-upon “advocates for road construction” like suburban mayors at the expense of transit projects.
    • Washington, D.C. is now the largest U.S. city with fare-free buses after the city council approved a zero-fare policy without Mayor Muriel Bowser’s approval. (CNBC)
    • People all over the world are starting “bike buses” so their kids can all ride to school together. Here’s how to start yours. (Wired)

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