Rail tunnel design and engineering work totaling almost $600 million was completed since the prior governor, John Corzine, authorized the project, and was paid by the Federal Transit Authority, the Port Authority of NY and NJ, and the state of NJ. The FTA is demanding repayment of their share since Christie canceled the tunnel project on Oct. 26 citing concerns about being liable for cost overruns.
"The letter (from the Federal Transit Administration) to NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein demands "payment in full, 30 days from the date of this letter.'' It threatens the state with interest penalties for being overdue and with turning the account over to a collection agency, the U.S. Department of Justice. The FTA also warned that if the debt becomes delinquent, it may hurt the state's credit rating.
One possibility is to have the congressional delegation negotiate to reduce the debt or have it forgiven. Lawmakers had forgiven a $140 million debt to construct high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstates 287 and 80, which were converted to to regular use in 1998."
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