(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New York's outgoing Governor, David Paterson has been a Saturday Night Live-joke pretty much since he ascended to the post when Eliot Spitzer had a bit of, um, scandal. Even before two major investigations and Paterson's decision not to run for re-election, he's had a bit of trouble being taken seriously. But today, he chose a high-speed rail conference in Manhattan to poke his counterpart across the Hudson, NJ Governor Chris Christie, for making a "somewhat anachronistic" decision to kill the ARC transit tunnel.
Paterson was careful to say, not knowing NJ's entire fiscal picture, he wasn't saying Christie made the "wrong" decision. But Paterson said that the entire region's growth depends on increasing transit capacity.
"In the past, even in times of grave financial distress," Paterson said " the Erie Lackawanna railroad was built, and the Erie Canal was built, and that's what made New York the financial epicenter of the entire country."
Paterson himself would like some big infrastructure projects, like a high-speed rail line. Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has already written to the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, asking for more funding for a New York high speed rail system. Incoming Republican Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio are sending their high speed rail money back to the federal government, saying the overall cost of the systems would burden local taxpayers.