Thursday, January 16, 2014
By David Furst : NJPR
In 2011, residents voted to merge Princeton Township and Princeton Borough into a single town - Princeton. This week, in his state of the state speech, Governor Christie held up Princeton as a shining example of what consolidation can do to reduce the cost of services in New Jersey towns. He claimed a savings in one year of $3 million.
But Planet Princeton says that "$3 million" in savings is a myth that was debunked last year. Mary Mann with New Jersey News Commons has been following the story and speaks with New Jersey Public Radio's David Furst.
Friday, November 22, 2013
By Matt Katz : New Jersey Public Radio
Governor Christie was officially elected chairman of the Republicans Governors Association by his fellow GOP governors Thursday in a closed-door meeting at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The job involves campaigning and fundraising in as many as 36 states. But Christie told reporters that he is still giving PRIORITY to his job in New Jersey.
Monday, October 21, 2013
At midnight last night, New Jersey began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. And this morning, the Christie administration officially announced that it would not appeal the Supreme Court's ruling. Michael Premo, campaign manager for New Jersey United For Marriage, discusses the news and what comes next.
Friday, September 13, 2013
A fire ravaged the boardwalk in Seaside Heights yesterday, wiping out many businesses that had rebuilt from Hurricane Sandy less than one year ago. We get the latest on the devastation, Governor Christie's response, and take calls from area residents.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Fred Kaplan of Slate talks about his new book on David Petraeus and continues the discussion on President Obama's picks for his next national security team, including Chuck Hagel. Plus: Analysis of Governor Christie's State of the State address; reaction to yesterday's federal ruling that limits NYPD stop-and-frisk procedures; and background on Tibet's recent increase in self-immolation protests.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Kate Hinds
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Christie released his 2012 budget today. And while nearly every agency took a hit, transportation spending will see an increase in state funding.
The budget also specifies that one of the goals this year is to avoid fare increases and expand bus service. This will be welcomed by New Jersey Transit passengers, who experienced a 22% fare hike last year.
Kate Slevin, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was cautiously optimistic. "It's good news for transit riders – and drivers as well," she said, adding that more mass transit would help reduce New Jersey's famous traffic congestion.
More later--but in the meantime, you can read the budget below.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Governor Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, just emailed around the following statement. We'll have more soon, plus FTA response. (Yesterday, when asked about the ARC tunnel negotiations, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff--who'd just spoken at a transportation conference--looked like he'd swallowed several lemons whole. He wouldn't comment. ) From the email:
Last night, New Jersey’s legal counsel filed its response to the Federal Transit Administration’s demand for $271 million in ARC transportation funding. Attached is the submission filed electronically with the FTA on behalf of NJ Transit, as well as a fact sheet.
While the submission clearly sets out New Jersey’s case, pay particular attention to the four-page introduction, which aptly and succinctly describes why the State of New Jersey has no lawful or administrative obligation to repay any of the $271 million demanded by the FTA. The FTA overstates the funds that are even at issue and makes a demand for repayment that is far broader than authorized by statute. Specifically:
Of the $271 million FTA demands, the vast majority -- $225.5 million -- consists of:
(1) funds that were expended prior to the execution of the August 2009 ESWA (Early Systems Work Agreements); and
(2) the State’s own formula funds that New Jersey was entitled to as a matter of right, and chose to apply to the Project.
The ESWA simply was not the source of these funds and the statute makes clear that these funds are not “Government payments made under the work agreement.”
As is by now abundantly clear, Governor Christie cancelled the project due to multi-billion dollar cost-overrun projections for a project that previously had an agreed upon price tag of $8.7 billion. Billions in those cost overruns would have been borne by New Jersey -- something unforeseen and entirely out of the state’s control, and a burden Governor Christie was not willing to place exclusively on New Jersey and its taxpayers.
Opposition to Demand
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
By Jim O'Grady
(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) If U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was spoiling for a fight when he addressed a business breakfast this morning about regional transportation policy, he got one--from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. That's because the heart of his forty-minute speech was a scathing critique of Christie's decision to kill the $9 billion ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.
"I believe pulling the plug on ARC was a terrible, terrible decision," Schumer said.
He pointed out that bridge and tunnel crossings between New York and New Jersey are now at capacity as more than a quarter million people commute from and through New Jersey to New York each day, a number that is expected to grow at least 25% in coming decades. He also said the tunnel would have brought thousands of construction jobs to the region and raised property values in large parts of New Jersey. And construction on it had already begun.
"This was not just a project in the planning stages," Schumer said. "There were explicit funding commitments from the Port Authority and the federal government. It was the largest public works project in the country, coming right here."
Friday, December 17, 2010
By Jim O'Grady
(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stood up at a press conference on Thursday morning at the state house in Trenton and uttered what could have been a $128 million phrase.
“The offer was a nice start,” he said.
He was referring to a letter from federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that offered a rebate in the above amount against a $271 million charge the feds have presented the state for preliminary work on the cancelled ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.
Christie killed the project in October because of projected cost overruns. LaHood, in the letter, proposed to give the state $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion. But only if New Jersey pays the whole bill by December 24.
The governor’s positive reaction on Thursday was a reversal of sorts. The prior two days, he’d refused to acknowledge the potential deal because the letter that contained it, dated Tuesday, hadn’t been sent to him. Instead, it was addressed to New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg. By Wednesday evening, though the offer had been widely reported, Governor Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak insisted it still hadn’t reached the state house.
“Neither the Governor’s Office or New Jersey Transit has heard from Secretary LaHood,” said Drewniak in a statement. “If and when we are contacted by the secretary, we will review their proposal.”
The disconnect may have had something to do with testy public relations between the Republican Christie and the Democrat Lautenberg.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By Jim O'Grady
(New York -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey could be off the hook for almost half the $271 million the federal government says it owes for scrapping a rail tunnel under the Hudson after work had been started.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says it will give the state $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion. But only if New Jersey pays the whole bill by December 24.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a letter containing the offer. A spokesman for Governor Christie said he had no comment on it because the department hasn't contacted him.
Governor Christie halted the $8.7 billion ARC tunnel project in October because of potential cost overruns. The decision has been controversial. New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, for one, repeatedly decries it as “disastrous.”
Lautenberg took credit on Wednesday, along with fellow New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, for brokering the rebate offer from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. A press release from Lautenberg claimed that, “The Senator has been working quietly with DOT on reducing New Jersey’s burden since the project was killed.”
Now the Christie administration must decide if half a loaf is enough to end its scrap with the feds. Earlier this month, the governor directed New Jersey Transit—the state agency overseeing the project—to hire well-connected DC law firm Patton Boggs at $485 an hour to fight the tab from LaHood, which is for preliminary work on the ARC tunnel.
James Weinstein, executive director of New Jersey Transit, stood before reporters after a recent board meeting at the agency and contended the federal government was wrong to ask for money it spent in collaboration with the state.
“This isn’t like they sent us a check for $270 million and then walked away and let us spend it,” Weinstein said of the U.S. DOT. “They were a participant in everything we did, every day, every minute, every hour.“
If the Christie administration sticks to that position, it could be that the Transportation Secretary just made an offer that can be refused.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killled the ARC tunnel twice, but it still won't die.
Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build a transit tunnel under the Hudson, extending the number 7 subway train -- a new line under construction -- to New Jersey. The project is projected to cost $5.3 billion, about half the ARC's pricetag.
Once, it almost seemed like Mayor Michael Bloomberg was indifferent to the project's death. "We are not a party to this," the Mayor said at a city hall news conference as the ARC tunnel was flatlining. "This is a Port Authority Project...They have their own financial problems and they can afford some things and not others."
But around the same time
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
By Kate Hinds
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) This morning Governor Christie released a memo entitled "Christie Administration Enforces Budget Discipline and Protects New Jersey Taxpayer Dollars--New Jersey Can’t Afford ARC Project and Shutdown Continues."
Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie accepted the recommendation of NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein to continue the orderly and expeditious shutdown of the ARC Project. Despite intense negotiations with federal and state participants, no agreement was reached on terms that would assure New Jersey’s taxpayers would not pay more than $2.7 billion for a completed Trans Hudson Express ARC project.
Federal cost estimates range from $9.8 billion to $12.7 billion. In addition this range does not include $775 million that New Jersey would be required to spend to build the Portal Bridge South, an integral part the ARC project.
On October 8, 2010, Governor agreed to an additional two week review of the ARC project at the request of US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.
A memorandum from the ARC Project Executive Committee is attached to this release.
You can read the memo below:
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Speaking at a hospital ribbon-cutting in Newark, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is just returning from a multi-day midwest campaign swing with fellow Republicans, says he hasn't had a chance to meet with his staff or review the final numbers on the ARC commuter train tunnel from New Jersey to New York.