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Christie To Take Another Look at Hudson Commuter Train Tunnel

Friday, October 08, 2010

A day after cancelling a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he'll take another look at it.

Christie promised a two-week review of several options that could salvage the tunnel after an hour-long meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

But the Republican governor, in a statement issued shortly after the meeting, insisted the project was "financially not viable" and likely to exceed its $8.7 billion budget "dramatically."

"This afternoon, Secretary LaHood presented several options to potentially salvage a trans-Hudson tunnel project," Christie said in a statement. "At the Secretary’s request, I’ve agreed to have Executive Director of NJ Transit Jim Weinstein and members from his team work with U.S. Department of Transportation staff to study those options over the next two weeks.”

Christie's spokesman added that steps are still being taken to shut down the project.

The two-week review follows a 30-day review Christie ordered last month to examine the likely cost overruns that the project will encounter. That review, instead of sharpening estimates of the tunnel's actual cost, ended up merely reiterating the broad range of figures that state and federal had come up with earlier in the summer, from $11 billion to $14 billion. The Obama administration has not confirmed those cost estimates, however.

LaHood left the meeting, held at Christie's office in Trenton, without commenting to reporters.  But later his office issued a statement saying the two officials had held a "good discussion" and that the working group would give Christie a report within two weeks.

The tunnel, which broke ground last year, was expected to double the number of New Jersey residents who could travel each day by train into Manhattan from about 45,000 a day to 90,000.

The project was close to the Obama administration's heart: it received a large chunk of the stimulus package last year and, in addition to other federal grants, was slated to receive more money from Washington than any other transit project in the nation: $3 billion.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, said that the likelihood of New Jersey losing that aid came up during the meeting.

"The Secretary was clear with Governor Christie: if this tunnel doesn't get built, the three billion dollars will go to other states," Lautenberg said in a statement. "We can't allow that to happen."

Friday's news drew cautious praise from environmental and civic groups that support the tunnel, which is called ARC, or Access to the Region's Core.

“While a two week extension still seems like a short period of time, we’re heartened to learn the project has been granted a temporary stay of execution,”  Bob Yaro, the president of the Regional Plan Association, said.

 

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Comments [9]

superf88

endgame Christie Prez 2012, of course

Oct. 10 2010 11:25 PM
martin from new york

Governor Christie does wish to have another rail tunnel.
Such improvements in mass transit will result in many to skip the long waits at the EZ pass booth and leave their cars home.
That will result in less greenhouse gas and lost profits for BP and the other oil giants who supported the Governor;s run for the State House.

Oct. 10 2010 10:16 AM
CC from NJ

Christie is a darned clever strategist. He called their bluff and won. He said "No project". (Just to see who was listening). WHAM! Everyone wanted it. People who didn't know it existed are talking about how many jobs we'll lose. Bloomberg and Patterson? "Sorry but we can't contribute". Up comes Ray Lahood! Project's back on track. Way to go Guv. Whoever wants it will pay.

Oct. 09 2010 11:49 PM
shadeed ahmad from New York, New York

Now we know why Christie ran for the governorship. New Jersey, education has steep tuition. I hope you've learned something. If not , remember: "Everything can be worse."

Oct. 09 2010 10:08 PM
Janine Erceg from NJ

This governor is selfish, ignorant & self-centered!! He ONLY cares about himself & his cronies!! Rather than creating jobs for people in his state—continuing to build the rail tunnel & doubling the amount of commuters able to get to & from the City—he wants to use tax-payer money to bail out the never-completed, retail complex in the Meadowlands: Xanadu??? Where is his brain? And why does he think that if NJ can't afford building the rail tunnel—which is being financed by the federal gov't & the Port Authority—why does he think that NJ should bailout the private-interest retail complex: Xanadu?? Does he have a personal interest at stake in Xanadu??? And WNYC—why are you not investigating & covering that story about Governor Christie wanting to use NJ taxpayers' funds to bailout Xanadu????? It came out on WNET a month or so ago & then the story simply "disappeared"!!! Please cover this story!!!

Oct. 09 2010 05:42 PM
Grandpa Daniel from West 187th Manhattan

This is an interstate infrastructure project of inestimable future value -- not one to be paid for from taxes being raised primarily to meet local current expenses. Period. It's an A-1 investment, like the George Washington Bridge. Why not a bond issue?

Oct. 09 2010 10:45 AM

Christie has larger things on his mind and the public is NOT one of them. He will take a second look~what about education? No second chances here.

Oct. 09 2010 09:27 AM
Frank Garcia from Manhattan

I agree with CARLINE LOGERIE. The governor's decision has drove me away from New Jersey to move into New York to meet my financial needs.

Oct. 08 2010 11:15 PM
CARLINE LOGERIE

Though it seems financially prudent for the governor to suspend this project; his actions don't seem to be geared towards fiscal reasons. He seems to support more cars on the road and less green alternatives. Further his positions seem to lean towards not supporting public transit in any capacity since this would lead more people to work in New York then in New Jersey.

Oct. 08 2010 06:26 PM

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