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Christie sticking with decision to halt ARC tunnel project, report states

christiesilo102610_optGovernor expected to announce his position Wednesday

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Gov. Chris Christie has decided to stick with his decision to shutdown construction of the Hudson commuter rail tunnel because of potential cost overruns, The Star-Ledger of Newark, reported Tuesday.

Citing three unnamed officials close to the project, the newspaper stated the governor will make his decision public on Wednesday. Federal transportation officials and the New Jersey AFL-CIO have been urging Christie to keep construction going.

The tunnel, which would stretch from the western slope of North Bergen and under the Hudson River to midtown Manhattan, is considered the nation's largest public works project.

Christie initially halted construction on Oct. 7, saying a review of the project indicated that the final cost to the state could rise from the projected $8.7 million to as much as $13 billion. At the urging of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the governor agreed to take two weeks to reconsider his decision. The two-week period ended Friday.

The decision to halt construction is expected to cost the state government $3 billion in federal transportation aid and throw thousands of construction crewmen out of work.

The Star-Ledger reported Christie will take money earmarked for the tunnel's construction and use it to finance the nearly-bankrupt state Transportation Trust Fund, which finances road, bridge and mass transit projects.

Word of Christie's decision angered New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel.

"Once again, Governor Christie has killed the ARC tunnel project, a decision that is wrong because the tunnel should be fixed, not canceled," Tittel said. "The decision by the governor will setback New Jersey's transportation needs for decades.

"Instead of taking the money to build more unnecessary highways, we should be fixing the plan for the tunnel so it meets the transportation needs of the region," Tittel said. "We believe if the governor is really going to cancel this project, the Amtrak should step in to ensure another tunnel is created for public transportation in the region. It's better to have a tunnel to Macy's basement than no tunnel at all."

Tittel added, "We believe Governor Christie is canceling this project not because it doesn't do what it should be doing but rather as an excuse to take the money for the Transportation Trust Fund. This is not about saving taxpayers money; this is really about having more money for highways and other sprawl inducing projects.

"Instead of fixing it and making it better, Christie has hurt commuters and the needs of the region," Tittel concluded. "Christie can't take the ARC tunnel to the White House." Tittel said. "By killing the tunnel we loose $3 billion in federal dollars, making this cancellation pennywise and pound foolish. Instead of doing what's best for the public interest, the Governor has delayed what he intended to do in the first place — canceling the project and ruining all chances for improving transportation access for the people of New Jersey and the region. The Democrats and supporters' refusal to try work make the tunnel work to meet the original goals of ARC also gave the governor another reason to kill the project."

 
Comments (9)
9 Friday, 29 October 2010 08:23
Commuter101
The only people I see complaining about this project are the ones that don't take the train to commute, and don't care to educate themselves with the facts on what the project entails.
It does not take a genius to figure out that this project would have benefited NJ in many ways. Does it matter where you work if you pay taxes in NJ? It's also true that NY offers higher paying jobs than does NJ, so guess what, that person would also pay a higher tax amount to NJ. Again our no-compromise short sighted governor has made a decision which will negatively impact our and our children futures.
And the proposal that would have saved the project was also rejected by the governor, don't let his PR spin machine hide the facts:

"The Governor was presented with a proposal from the Department of Transportation 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"
8 Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:12
nj tax payer
i can't believe he would throw thousands of new jersey jobs out with the bath water, does he really think this is a good idea, this just shows new jersey what a idiot we have for a governor, now he's two for two.way to go
ARC
7 Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:30
No Foresight
So if one of the two 100+ year old rail tunnels into NYC goes out of service, then what? If you think the project is costly now, just wait until it actually does move forward. It will easily be twice the cost. Maybe triple. The right thing to do is to get it built now while the funding is largely in place.

Prediction: Christie will be looked back on as a deeply flawed politician who not only lacked foresight but couldn't recognize the foresight of others.

Cancelling ARC is absolutely absurd. Christie is an idiot.
6 Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:16
The Mighty Mole
He's a Republican - nobody should be surprised at his breathtaking lack of foresight, vision and leadership.
5 Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:47
Common Sense
The benefit of this project would be to:
1) Train commuters and Amtrak riders
2) NYC tourism
3) Albany - since they collect income tax on NJ residents who work in NY
4) Labor Unions, as they'd have an open teat to hold onto for the 10+ years it took to finish this project (and we wonder why we'd have cost over-runs).

Why these people step up and offer to contribute and cover cost over-runs, then you can bash Christie. Until then, if you pay taxes in NJ and don't like your tax bill rising every year, you should thank him for making the tough, correct decision.
4 Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:34
Ahlsander
The Governor appears like the uncompromising righteous, the Federal government looks like the bad guy and it just happens to be right around election time.

So what's next on the political sacrificial altar?
3 Wednesday, 27 October 2010 04:28
VG
It is really foolish to cancel the project. Everyone knows that NY is the heartbeat of this region. Improving access to it would improve economy of New jersey a lot.
Especially at this time when economy is quite bad, such projects are very helpful.
2 Tuesday, 26 October 2010 22:25
johnval
Once again the NJ bully has struck !!!
ARC
1 Tuesday, 26 October 2010 20:54
Patton
Good

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