New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Kills Hudson River Train Tunnel For Second Time

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gov. Christie first canceled the $8.7 billion tunnel first on October 7, citing potential cost overruns for which he said the state had no way to pay. The following day, he agreed to look at ways to salvage the project after meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Two government officials close to the project confirmed Tuesday that the Republican governor had decided against those options.

In early September, even before he first announced his decision, Christie called a halt to awarding new contracts. Last Friday, LaHood, though a supporter of the tunnel, publicly admitted that federal estimates showed the project could go between $1 billion and $4 billion over budget.

Work on the tunnel broke ground in 2009 and was expected to take another eight years to complete. It would have doubled the number of NJ Transit commuter trains that could come into Manhattan every morning rush hour from about 45 to 90.

Transit advocates predict that canceling the train tunnel would lead to greater congestion on roads and more delays for NJ Transit trains. Christie, meanwhile, has been using his treatment of the project as an example of fiscal prudence on the numerous campaign stops he's made in support of Republican candidates across the country.

The federal government was planning to chip in just over $3 billion to the project, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey another $3 billion. New Jersey was slated to contributed $2.7 billion -- including discretionary transportation money that actually comes from Washington but could have been used on other transportation projects. But the Port Authority and New Jersey would have been on the hook to pay for any cost overruns, according to project documents.

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, criticized Christie's decision after it was first reported in the Star-Ledger and by the Associated Press.

"The federal government presented Governor Christie with a number of financing options that would limit and even eliminate New Jersey's responsibility to pay for cost overruns on the ARC tunnel," he said in a statement. "But it was clear from the beginning that Governor Christie planned to kill this project no matter what."

But another official disputed that interpretation of the federal government's offer.

More details are expected to emerge Wednesday.


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Comments [19]

joed from nycny

2 words “Big Dig” $22Billion (with interest)
Your children will pay and pay and pay!!
Your grand children will be born into govt slavery.
13 trillion and growing! Because they never pay it off.
They just roll it over and sell more govt bonds to pay the interest!!!
Until the interest is the whole budget.
Don’t tell me “tax the rich”
If you confiscated 100% of the rich’s income it won’t be enough!!
That’s how much they are spending.

Oct. 29 2010 08:51 PM
sickened in nj from kearny

Once again new jersey falls short, christie your two for two for us, what next, you claim you want to put new jersey back to work, well here was your big chance and once again you blew it.what will you be thinking about when you sit at your holiday dinner table knowing their are people on soup lines for their meals thanks to you.

Oct. 29 2010 07:43 AM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

Let's see if we can with some recurring themes.

(1) Huffington's (I'm assuming you're referring
to the former Ms. Stassinopoulos) Thesis
(i.e. Third World America)":
I'd be interested in knowing whether her advice was used by her country of origin in reaching its esteemed station in financial current history. But its not Greece I think of when I read Ms. Huffington's ravings. It's the Egypt of the Pharaoh's as fictionalized in the cinema of Cecil B. DeMille.

(2) lack of "long term infrastructure project that
has been passed by Republicans"
I give you as, examples, Eisenhower's Inter-State Highways and the sarcophagus that is Albany, built by Nelson Rockefeller.

(3) "small-minded, fearful, pandering
idiocy....sums up why conservatives are
know-nothings...very obvious fact that
many of the benefits of the ARC tunnel are
I daresay that until the people who are "going to benefit are willing to pay for it" it shouldn't be built. (unless you and your friends wish to pay for it) [I realize that you may have a different ethic]

Oct. 28 2010 01:15 AM

"Get the money in the same way as "private" enterprises. Sell shares, charge a price for usage above actual maintenance and operational costs, distribute the profit to share holders"

This post pretty much sums up why conservatives are know-nothings. The poster simply cannot fathom the very obvious fact that many of the benefits of the ARC tunnel are NOT BORNE BY THE RIDERS, and therefore cannot be charged for by the tunnel owners. Much of, indeed most of, the benefits are borne by drivers freed of congestion, homeowners who see their property values rise, and anyone who would be breathing the cleaner air.

"free market" ideology only works in the rare cases where such externalities are small, offsetting, or at least essentially equal among competing proposals. In the case of transportation, this is never the case.

Oct. 27 2010 10:41 PM
David in Manhattan from New York City

small-minded, fearful, pandering idiocy....

our country is on the fast lane to nowhere

Oct. 27 2010 12:12 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

@Nick from New Jersey:

Admittedly, there are Republicans who are willing to govern in a Democrat fashion - "government-by-how-much-is-in-it-for-me".
Maybe Christie is such. I assume there will be offers made.
Let's see if there are fewer such Republicans and Democrats after next Tuesday.

Ready for that cup of tea?

Oct. 27 2010 12:12 PM
Subhankar from Princenton

For his own stardom, he let the people of NJ down. It is not called fiscal prudence, it is called ego. He could have got a sweet deal from Fed, Port Authority and NY had he wanted. His short sightedness and ego will be a big problem sooner than he thinks. I didn't like the corruption, property taxes but I think the state is better off with a competent dem governor. Bring of likes of Richard Cody....

Oct. 27 2010 11:32 AM
Dion from Texas

When will the United States build anything? The U.S. used to build and replace public works. Now we let it become obsolete, deteriorate, and patch it everyday if that--- or ignore such as the Governor of NJ is doing. With elected officials like Christie, this nation is destined to become a2nd World country.

Oct. 27 2010 11:16 AM
Nick from New Jersey

You can't blame him, he is a Republican and the only thing a Republican is good for is tacking money from the middle class and poor and giving it too the rich. Has there been any long term infrastructure project that has been passed by Republicans. Here is the deal, this is a long term project for which he will not get any credit for and that is why he did not want it. The way to get this passed is to find out how much to money to give him and give it to him.

Oct. 27 2010 10:52 AM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

You want to build a tunnel?

Get the money in the same way as "private" enterprises. Sell shares, charge a price for usage above actual maintenance and operational costs, distribute the profit to share holders. What a simple idea. Too bad American Express, AT&T, and Apple didn't think of that.
The other methods of finance are outright theft or elegant Ponzi schemes sold on the rhetoric of three card monte dealers.

Ready for a cup of tea.

Oct. 27 2010 10:28 AM

Funny that every move he makes is completely anti-anybody who could remotely be considered working class. Millions of people travel back and fourth to work, generating billions for the local economy. NJ benefits massively from commuters who live in NJ but work in NY. Entire communities could peg their futures on the growth that the ARC would facilitate. And not just in 10 years, but today, when jobs are needed badly. And this might all be just noise if the current tunnel weren't so inadequate in so many ways.

Oct. 27 2010 09:41 AM
Marissa from NYC

The political cycle is way too shortsighted for big infrastructure. China is going to kick our butts in the next 20 years if we don't find a way to detach the major development needed to make our economy competitive from a 4-year political election cycle. Dumb move, Christie. I hope you get impeached.

Oct. 27 2010 09:31 AM

God Bless the Governor. He is the best! The tunnel was for those poor people who went for suburban sprawl on precious farmland. The had to have 4000 sq feet of living space. Ooh living in an older home close to NYC just doesn't do it for them. You can't live on the PA border and be conveniently located to midtown. So maybe they can get jobs close to home? Or maybe rehab the old cities that already have good transit to NYC. Newark, JC and the whole bergen/passaic/hudson area. This wasn't for the good of NJ it was for those (maybe a little conceited, and self absorbed) commuters. I still couldn't use this train to go shopping and get back home without my car. So good. I am happy. Rehab Newark, rehab newark, rehab newark. Yes!

Oct. 27 2010 09:01 AM
Mike from New Jersey

Penny-wise. Pound foolish. This project would have created high-paying, long-term jobs in both NJ and NY. Governor Christie has failed miserably on this decision.

Oct. 27 2010 08:59 AM
philip from brooklyn

i understand the principle that if you dont have the money to complete the project dont start it .. I wonder if he has ever heard of the roman empire or the pyramids or has even bought a car or a house and paid it off say a 30 year mortgage..He used to be a businessman didnt he ever borrow money to do business. Sometimes it takes a wise man to see the future and plan for it . If we spent our lives saving for cash on hand we would never get to college, get married, have a car , have roads to drive on.. Its what you spend it on not what you have to spend.....

Oct. 27 2010 08:58 AM
Dan Higgins from Mohegan Lake, NY

Here is another example of an inability to think "out of the box". All municipal projects should now be looked upon as an opportunity to generate clean, renewable energy. The tunnel could have doubled as a tidal / hydro power generator facility, using underwater turbines. This would have provided power for the rail system, ventilation and lights, and excess power could have been used in the local area. In this way funding would have been obtained through more venues. I am attempting to get the DOT to do this with the Tappan Zee Bridge - please see

Oct. 27 2010 08:48 AM
Paul from Basking Ridge

HEADLINE "Christie Proves Huffington's Thesis (i.e. Third World America)"

Come on folks - the existing tunnel is 100 years old and has only two tracks!!!

Oct. 27 2010 08:40 AM
Nick from lost in NJ

I'm reminded of the song Groucho sung in Duck Soup... "Whatever it is, I'm against it". Perhaps Herr Christie is starting to believe his own publicity and he thinks he can just say no for anything that wasn't his idea. Assuming he has any.

Oct. 27 2010 06:27 AM
Jeffrey from Manhattan

Great thinkers take great investment risks. DeWitt Clinton did so with the Eerie Canal and the NYC Grid, against terrific opposition. Both projects helped catapult NYC to its status as the capital of the world—the canal in international commerce, the grid in real estate and development. Christie is a small-minded political game-player, however, and this has little to do with fiscal prudence. History will judge him, too, and I fear not as beneficently as some of his braver political forebears.

Oct. 26 2010 11:49 PM

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