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'This Is A National Issue': Cuomo, Trump Discuss Federal Funding For Gateway Project

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo returned from Washington, D.C. after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

The Queens natives discussed a number of topics, including extending the runways at LaGuardia, improving Penn Station and federal funding for the Gateway Project, working to replace the century-old rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey.

"This is a national issue. New York does not own the tunnels," Cuomo said.

He said the two discussed how to execute such a project, including possibly forming a public-private partnership similar to how the new Mario Cuomo Bridge got built.

"The president was rightly concerned about how we would do this," Cuomo said.

"I think it's fair to say the meeting was a positive meeting. I think it's fair to say that the president was receptive to what we were talking about," Cuomo added. "It was all positive, it was all good."

Gov. Cuomo Full News Conference On Gateway Project, Hudson River Tunnel Project

Riders say they're beyond frustrated.

"We'd like to really tell the president this is very stressful to all of us," one woman told CBS2.

Gateway Tunnel Video by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on YouTube

The governor says he is too.

Last month, Cuomo and his team documented the decaying 107-year-old rail tunnels underneath the Hudson River in an attempt at getting the president to reconsider his opposition to building two new passageways.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, I think it's worth $13 billion," he said.

That's the projected price tag for constructing the new tubes.

The governor is hoping to convince the president to agree to a deal in which the federal government would foot 50 percent of the cost. New York, New Jersey and the Port Authority would pay for the other 50 percent.

"There is water that intrudes from the river through the cast iron ring into the cement that lines the tunnels," Cuomo said.

During Superstorm Sandy, salt water filled much of the tunnels, and the governor says its effects are still being felt underground.

"The salt is still sitting on the cement, decomposing the cement, and eroding the copper cables," he said.

It would take about seven years to rebuild the tunnels.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak riders who rely on mass transit have a message for the president, as well.

"You start your day off completely frustrated. So whatever funding we have to provide, please do so, it's needed dramatically in this area," one man said.

The tunnels are also crucial to the economy along the Northeast Corridor, which accounts for 20 percent of the national gross domestic product, or GDP.

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