The Senate confirmed three nominees to senior positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation, including two to lead modal agencies, after months-long delays because some senators had placed holds that prevented the votes.
Lawmakers by voice vote confirmed Adam Sullivan to be assistant transportation secretary for government affairs, Ronald Batory to head the Federal Railroad Administration and Raymond Martinez to run the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that oversees the USDOT, said all the nominees are "highly qualified" and will help the department fulfill its mission.
The four Democratic senators from New York and New Jersey had placed a hold on Batory's nomination and others last summer, reportedly in an attempt to pressure the Trump administration to follow through on commitments from the Obama administration to provide half the funding needed to build a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River into New York City.
President Trump has yet to signal such support, but Congress is close to agreeing on details of a two-year appropriations measure across government agencies and could put some Hudson tunnel funding into that bill.
In addition, the USDOT has yet to act on applications for 2017 TIGER infrastructure grants, or for combined 2017 and 2018 large-project INFRA grants, which could also presumably provide some funds for the tunnel and related projects.
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