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Sources Say New Jersey Gov. Christie to Pull Plug on Hudson River Tunnel

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The $8.7 billion trans-Hudson river transit tunnel project is expected to be killed later this week by Gov. Chris Christie, according to several sources familiar with the project. Barring any last minute reprieve, Gov. Christie will announce later this week that he's pulling the plug on the transit tunnel, known as the ARC project, which would have connected New Jersey to Manhattan.

New Jersey has already committed $2.7 billion towards the project, with the rest coming from the federal government and the Port Authority. Construction got underway in June 2009, but last month, Christie halted the project, saying he wanted to review costs.

Now several sources say Christie has made up his mind that it's just too risky -- and that he needs the money for roads.

Speaking at a campaign event for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Brady of Illinois, Christie says he's made no decision -- but he made his thinking clear.

"I was alerted to the fact that there were potential for significant cost overruns, and New Jersey's broke. And the federal government made it clear that New Jersey will be on the hook for any cost overruns on the project," Christie says.

NJ Transit, the Port Authority, and the Federal Transit Administration declined to comment.

On Monday, New Jersey's top transportation official said the state might divert money from the ARC project to Garden State roadways. Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson told legislators that the state could reallocate more than $2 billion from the project.

"You've got that billion coming in, $100 million a year, that is rededicated, flexed to ARC," he said. "So if ARC didn't happen, there's a billion dollars, a pot of money, for roads and bridges and things like that."

But the region could lose $6 billion from the federal government and the Port Authority says those allocated funds are specific to the project. Simpson said the decision to continue or cancel the ARC tunnel would be made on its own merits.

Simpson made his comments before a legislative committee. The committee approved a $1.7 billion financing package, allowing work to resume on other road and bridge projects around the state after a one-day moratorium.

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Comments [33]

Thanks webbrewers! I agree with you ingenuity can move mountains—if those in power want it to!

Oct. 17 2010 12:08 AM
webbrewers.com from the tunnel

j9nj,
The money goes into the big black hole that is our govt. Why not spend some of it on technology that would allow more train traffic in the existing tunnels? Why not develop a huge pontoon/barge that trains could drive right onto? Why not develop floating trains?
Govt is incapable of thinking outside the box (or should I say outside the tunnel?).

Oct. 16 2010 08:17 PM

webbrewers—If you think that money will actually go towards fixing roads and bridges, do you know what our toll charges go to? I thought tolls were for improving our state roads & bridges. If I'm wrong, couls someone please explain to me what that money is used for? Also, do you know that with the halting of this project, that has already started...we now how to pay back the Feds for all the money we already spent on it—to date?! Where does THAT MONEY come from?? All those workers will now be losing their work!!

Oct. 15 2010 03:44 PM
elka from NJ

This is NOT mass transit. This is commuter transit. Give up the McMansions in Princeton Junction (where you all ate up farmland and open space to live on). Move back to JC, Newark. Repopulate the cities with middle class tax base. You will be close to the city. Lots of Path and bus service available. Take a boat. There a ferries. This is a stupid corrupt union plan and lots people will be enriched from such a hefty project. You want your sprawl, you want Manhattan, You cannot have both. So swim if you have to. I am glad this is stopped!

Oct. 07 2010 11:37 AM
Ricky from New Jersey

Christie is too friendly to NJ's wealthy, who probably all ride around in stretch limos anyhow, and not friendly enough to the NJ Transit-riding middle class and poor. He is a consummate fat cat and not deserving of re-election. Yes, drivers need to pay their fair share of New Jersey's transportation costs, too!

I want Chris Christie to show support for at least some rail projects in this state. No rail, no vote. Sorry.

Oct. 06 2010 06:19 PM
Arthur Horn from East Windsor, NJ

The governor is wise to reevaluate the situation in light of major cost overruns.

Money is tight and the State of New Jersey will be responsible for the extra money which is now estimated to be $5 Billion.

Oct. 06 2010 05:14 PM
Judith Targove from Highland Park, NJ

Who are all those people who jam the trains to and from New York every day during the rush hours? They're people who live in NJ and work in New York but don't want to drive. They work on their laptops, read newspapers, etc. It's not wasted time when they're delayed for 20 minutes. I swear by the trains, and If a 20-minute delay will make a worker late, it's possible on some lines to take an earlier train to allow for mishaps. Don't cars and buses experience delays at the tunnel ? Yes, NJ Transit does needs upgrading -- no argument. Since the rise of automobile travel on national roads, public transportation has not been an important policy issue in our country. It's sad that now, when we realize how much we need it, we're no longer prosperous, which probably explains why the tunnel is not a joint NY-NJ project.

Oct. 06 2010 12:09 PM
EMM from Chatham, NJ

If Christie manages to cancel this tunnel project it will become a substantial reflection of his immaturity and inability to think long term. This will become his legacy in the long run. Short sited!! For all the reasons many have stated, on top of which I would add the impact of lost constructionj jobs .. Also, what about the environment? Rails vs. Roads??

And to Obama...now it the time to step in to support the working man. If there are cost overuns...where is the bail out? Anyway to get those 2010 bonuses paid out to tax payer owned Wall Street?

Disgraceful!

Oct. 06 2010 11:32 AM
Davin from Brooklyn

The longterm benefits of the ARC are hard to argue with. Home values in Northern NJ would increase by the billions, more wealthy commuters would consider NJ as a home, and capacity into Manhattan would be doubled. Let's hope that Governor Christie reconsiders for the benefit of NJ's financial future.

Oct. 06 2010 11:31 AM
kramyecad from North NJ

OMG -Head exploding. Reps have shortest memory in world. 8 years of wasting the American Dream. Collapse the banks, Corps, Insurance, Lenders, us. They bankrupt Dems
cleanup. Reps against bailout & then stand in line for more $. -10 billion a month on Iraq for 6 YEARS now all the Repubs can say is no. Obama isn't Jesus but apparently he can be crucified. Let's dedicate to "YES" & non partisan reinvestment. Cancel Christie now!

Oct. 06 2010 11:25 AM
webbrewers

This illustrates the mentality behind why NJ has no money:

"You've got that billion coming in, $100 million a year, that is rededicated, flexed to ARC," he said. "So if ARC didn't happen, there's a billion dollars, a pot of money, for roads and bridges and things like that."

Oct. 06 2010 11:01 AM
webbrewers.com

This illustrates the mentality behind why NJ has no money:

"You've got that billion coming in, $100 million a year, that is rededicated, flexed to ARC," he said. "So if ARC didn't happen, there's a billion dollars, a pot of money, for roads and bridges and things like that."

Oct. 06 2010 11:00 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

the fed funds were earmarked for a rail tunnel, which was supposed to solve the issue of freight traffic crowding the roads new jerseyans insist on using to get into nyc. if it's not used for that, return the funds to the fed.

these funds come from our tax dollars, and as a new yorker who isn't enslaved to a car, i don't feel like paying for nj's dependency on car travel, gasoline. tax their subsidized gas and get the funds for your roads that way, christie.

Oct. 06 2010 10:49 AM
S.Hughes from Central New Jersey

Yes, let's cut off our nose to spite our face. Let's live or die by the mantra "NO NEW TAXES." Let's not think long-term about mass transit. I drive into NYC for visits, and would love to have easier access via mass transit. For pity's sake, raise the gasoline tax. Raise the tolls on the NJ Turnpike. Let much of it come from those passing through the state.

Oct. 06 2010 10:44 AM
Ricky from New Jersey

If he cancels the tunnel, I'm going to switch my vote from Christie to anyone willing to build the tunnel next election. Also, as a Republican, I think this is a morally and economically irresponsible decision, and, seeing as my party wants to be irresponsible, I might as well switch my party to the Democratic.

Oct. 06 2010 10:42 AM
Diane & Rich Williams from Larchmont, NY

Brian,

We Live in Westchester County, and we feel that fund should be used on The Tappen Zee Bridge, the bridge really needs work and is at capacity. It's sinking !!!

Oct. 06 2010 10:42 AM
Brian

If Christie is worried about cost overruns on this project now, he should take a lesson from NYC's Second Ave subway. Stopping a project in the middle and resuming years or decades later will only cause the overall cost to be many times higher than the overruns he fears. And with population growth and urban spread, this tunnel will need to built eventually. Better to do it now.

Oct. 06 2010 10:39 AM
antonio from park slope

What a surprise, that a republican doesn't see there some investments that pay unintended benefits. Less pollution, cars on tour roads. A project like this also has a ripple effect in the real estate markets, small businesses.

Oct. 06 2010 10:34 AM
Bob from New Rochelle

For decades, Americans have been told by politicians that nothing needs to be paid for by taxes. Now the bills for government's borrowing and financial shell games are coming due. We can't raise taxes on revenues that have declined with the economy, and so can't fund our needed infrastructure improvements. Until we have real leadership at all levels, our country will continue in this long downward spiral.

Oct. 06 2010 10:34 AM
RichK from Union City

The inability to commit to basic infrastructure is why this tunnel wasn't built 20 years ago, when it first became obvious it was needed. Robert Moses killed the 2nd Ave. subway in the '50s with the same short-sighted reasoning. If there are cost overruns, fix it! And fix the cost overruns that have drained the road construction fund too. Don't use it as a lame excuse to grab the money for road work that should be funded by the gas taxes drivers pay.

Oct. 06 2010 10:30 AM
EK

What an idiot our governor is! This project would provide tons of growth opportunities in NJ not to mention incentivize more people to live there. This is such a short-sighted move. I also can't believe he can do this unilaterally without the voters' approval. Ugh.

Oct. 06 2010 10:26 AM
elka from NYC

Let the corporations that need NJ labor come to NJ. Why should we build an $8billion dollar tunnel and then spend $600 per month on a train ticket as well. Also, probably 25% of those commuters could work from home. The companies just don't allow it because they thing we will be lying on the living room couch. Talk about antiquated thinking. Rail is antiquated it is NOT the future it is the PAST. Don't compare us to Europe. I have used the trains all over the EU. They are super expensive and not so great. How do you transport yourself, 3 kids and a weeks worth of groceries on a train? Poop on the rail system. I prefer telecommuting and better roads.

Oct. 06 2010 10:12 AM
Ken from Middletown, NJ

The rail system in the US is an embarassment - we are incredibly far behind much of Europe and Asia. Cutting investment further is foolhardy. It's incredibly shortsighted to push for more investments in roads and less in rails. To maintain NJ roads, the obvious solution is to raise the gas tax. The NJ gas tax is 14 cents per gallon less than the average tax in the 50 states (less than 1/2 of the average). Observing Christie's actions as governor is distressing. His cuts threaten to make New Jersey a mess in the future - much like Reagan's cuts in California doomed California to the mess it is in now.

Oct. 06 2010 10:10 AM
Lisa

Good!

Oct. 06 2010 10:06 AM
Peter Shelsky from Brooklyn

I agree with the Governor. Besides, the roads in NJ are horrible. The signage is ridiculous, and it is impossible to not get lost constantly. Fix the roads first.

Oct. 06 2010 09:49 AM
Mark from brooklyn

This is incredibly problematic. All rail traffic on the east coast bottlenecks at NYC. The capacity is not there. Any future development of a high speed rail service would be significantly burdened by this. The future of New Jersey would be significantly burdened by this because it ruins the potential for new growth designed around rail transit. Roads? Roads? That is how we think towards the future.?

Oct. 06 2010 09:34 AM
elka from NYC

Totally agree with the governor. Stop this project and fix the roads. The ARC is so expensive and it doesn't benefit all NJ residents only the ones who go to Manhattan daily. We have 8 million people here who need better roads and lower taxes. A lot of those train commuters are H1 anyway. Yup, they are.

Oct. 06 2010 08:48 AM
Rich from stuck in Tunnel traffic

More driving--great---more pollution--great---more reliance on oil--great---more insane lines at Holland and Lincoln Tunnels--great---continuing to fall behind the rest of the developed world in rail transport--great--maintaining regressive vision of the future as the past---great---continuing to have the most embarrassing and unwelcoming central train station in any major city in the entire civilized world--great---giving pork projects to political cronies to pave more of the garden state--great--demonstrating the obstructionist, naysaying disastrously backward Republican ethos---really great--treating the NJ commuter worse than voiceless cattle--great--you go boy!

Oct. 06 2010 08:30 AM
joearch from New Jersey

if they want to save the roads, they need to build a freight rail tunnel from new jersey to Brooklyn, so they can use trains instead of trucks for shipments into the city and Long Island.

Oct. 06 2010 07:10 AM
Patton from NJ

Cant go to Penn not enough room for more tracks, its impossible! They need to kill Moynihan Station next and save NY 3 Billion

Oct. 06 2010 02:29 AM
Dan from new york

I don't understand why politicians are so stupid when it comes to upgrading the country's rail system. Adding and improving the rail system would be such a huge gain in the transportation game not only by relieving traffic filled roads, but in doing so they would require less matainence. Everyone loves to complain about gas prices well this is the one thing that combats it. Maybe they want us spending money on gas and sticking to the roads. High speed rail would become just as good of an alternative as air travel, it already works on the northeast corridor. It will work in other parts as well. This ARC plan is so vital to the region and christie is an idiot.

Oct. 05 2010 11:26 PM
Ben from Park Slope

So run the tunnel straight to Pennsylvania, then.

Oct. 05 2010 09:57 PM
Kostas

Isn't this the same governor who complained that NJ receives the least amount of federal funds for every tax dollar sent to Washington. Hypocrite.

Oct. 05 2010 09:37 PM

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