TRANSCRIPT: Senator Lautenberg Reacts to Gov. Christie on ARC Tunnel

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Here's the full statement from NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on the decision to kill the ARC tunnel by NJ Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) earlier Wednesday.

We've also posted video of the full speech from Christie, and the reaction from Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.



NEWARK – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to Governor Chris Christie’s decision to kill the critical Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel project:

“The Governor was given a deal from the federal government on Sunday that put no extra imposition on the state of New Jersey for its obligation to the ARC Tunnel project, and the Governor refused it.  It was clear from the beginning that Governor Christie planned to kill the ARC Tunnel no matter what.  In doing so, the Governor has once again put politics over performance.

“This is a tragic day in New Jersey’s history.  Two weeks ago, Governor Christie made the biggest public policy blunder in New Jersey’s history.  Today he repeated it.  Today he killed the prospect for improving New Jersey's economy and creating thousands of new jobs.  He increased the amount of toxic fumes that will be discharged from idling cars stuck in traffic, and he took away an opportunity for New Jersey housing values to go up.

“I was a CEO and I know you need to be at work to do your job, and Governor Christie is out stumping in other states and not doing his job at home.  While the Governor is on political missions in Indiana, California, Ohio and other states, he is ducking the needs of people in New Jersey.  In just nine months of being in office, the Governor has bungled the opportunity to score $400 million dollars for our students and now he has lost over $6 billion in transportation funding.

“New Jersey Transit is coming off one of the worst summers for delays in recent memory.  1,400 delays were recorded this summer, and just this week a minor derailment caused hour-long delays for thousands of commuters.  Delays and derailments are only going to get worse on our aging infrastructure and thanks to the Governor, New Jersey commuters shouldn’t count on new rail service options for decades to come.

“The Governor has put politics before performance, and it is the people of New Jersey who will pay the high price.”


Christie Myth: The Federal Government did not provide a proposal that would have shielded New Jersey from being responsible for cost overruns beyond the current state share of $2.7 billion.

Truth: The Federal Government provided options to the state for transferring responsibility for covering overruns to a private entity through a Public Private Partnership (“P3”).

Christie Myth: The Federal Government did not offer New Jersey any additional Federal funds beyond the $3 billion already committed.

Truth: The Federal Government offered a financing option in which it would provide an additional $358 million dollars, bringing the total Federal commitment to an unprecedented $3.358 billion.

Christie Myth: The actual cost to New Jersey of this project will be $3.5 billion because the state will be on the hook for Portal Bridge.

Truth: The Federal Government presented Governor Christie with a proposal for a Public Private Partnership (“P3”) that would not only relieve New Jersey of responsibility for cost overruns, but also of the cost of the Portal Bridge.

Christie Myth: He is killing the tunnel because the state cannot afford it.

Truth: He is killing the tunnel in order to move $1.25 billion in New Jersey Turnpike Authority funds dedicated to the ARC Tunnel to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.

The Governor was presented with a proposal from the Department of Transportation (as noted above) that would shield New Jersey from the risk of cost overruns.  The Public Private Partnership (P3) proposal was presented to Governor Christie as follows:

  • Federal Contribution: $3 Billion
  • Port Authority Contribution: $3 Billion
  • New Jersey Contribution: $2.7 Billion (hard cap)
  • Private Investors: $1.85 Billion plus assumption of risk of cost overruns