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San Francisco transit money, NY bridge scrapped from COVID-19 bill amid GOP complaints

Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
·1 min read
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WASHINGTON - Two infrastructure projects derided by Senate Republicans were dropped from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Tuesday following deliberations with a key Senate official, according to a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said the bill’s funding for an expansion of the BART, a subway system serving the San Francisco Bay Area, was struck from the bill because it was “part of a pilot project.” And $1.5 million in funding for a bridge between part of upstate New York and Canada was also scrapped.

“Now that the two projects that Republicans misled the public about in the House bill have been removed, it is unclear how Republicans will justify their opposition to the American Rescue Plan, which has strong bipartisan support among the public,” Hammill said.

The projects had drawn fierce opposition from Republicans, who ridiculed them as unrelated pet projects for Democratic leaders.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Tuesday, "This is the way Nancy Pelosi gets $140 million for her tunnel of love to Silicon Valley."

The bridge, however, was in the district of Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a top backer of former President Donald Trump. It had originally been part of a funding request under Trump’s administration by then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.

The bridge had been dropped during deliberations because the congresswoman representing its district — Stefanik — did not advocate for it, according to a Senate source.

Stefanik spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said the bridge funding had been a “bad, bad deal” relative to the amounts of funding for other projects in the bill, calling the spat a “swing and a miss” for Pelosi.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: San Francisco transit money, NY bridge pulled from COVID-19 stimulus