The Real Deal New York

Steve Roth apparently supported Trump’s decision to back out of Gateway funding plan: report

Emails show Vornado head encouraged Transportation Secretary
January 31, 2018 06:00PM

Steve Roth and Elaine Chao

It seems Vornado Realty Trust’s Steve Roth backs President Trump’s decision not to pay for half of the Gateway tunnel project.

In an email exchange with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Richard LeFrak, Roth responded to a story that appeared in the Weekly Standard about the project, Politico reported. The story — forwarded by Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — noted that Trump ditched an earlier proposal to split the cost of the $13 billion tunnel with New York and New Jersey.

“Thank you for sharing. You are doing great … stick to your guns,” Roth replied to Chao, according to emails obtained by liberal watchdog group Democracy Foward through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Roth’s stance on the project may come as a surprise, considering that Vornado is the largest landlord in the Penn Plaza district. The real estate investment trust owns 8 million square feet of office space in the area, and more reliable travel options into the neighborhood would likely be a boon to property owners.

A spokesperson for Roth did not immediately provide a comment.

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump called on Congress to approve a plan that will generate a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure. The details on the plan remain unclear. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel