Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
ARC Tunnel Report: Cost Wouldn't Exceeded $10 Billion -- And NJ Didn't Have To Pay for Most Of It
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 05:00 PM
(UPDATED WITH MORE INFORMATION) A federal government's report is raising questions about why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie scrapped the ARC tunnel.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie canceled the trans-Hudson tunnel in 2010, saying that the cost could balloon to $14 billion and that the state would be on the hook for overruns. But a Government Accountability Office report says that the state was only kicking in 14.4 percent -- not the 70 percent that Christie was claiming -- and the cost of the tunnel would not have exceeded $10 billion.
The governor is standing by his figure, saying the GAO isn't counting the New Jersey dollars that the Port Authority would've had to spend on the project, and that the state also would have been billed for related upgrades, like a new railroad bridge near Secaucus.
In statement, Christie's office said: "It was the FTA’s own projections, in an August 2010 memo, that confirmed a rise in projects costs from $8.7 billion to anywhere between $10.9 and $13.7 billion, not including the $775 million Portal Bridge Project that was necessary to complete the ARC project in its entirety."
But U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, who requested the GAO report, said in a statement that the tunnel was "critical to the future of New Jersey’s economy and it took years to plan, but Gov. Christie wiped it out with a campaign of public deception." He added: "commuters were sacrificed for the short term political needs of the governor."
Here's a pdf of the report, which was released Tuesday.
(with reporting from Jim O'Grady)