Were Politics Behind Christie's ARC Termination?

When the long planned, and much needed, project to build a second train tunnel under the Hudson River was cancelled by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he blamed escalating costs and a burden to the state. Was he lying?

A new report conducted by independent Congressional investigators to be released this week by the Government Accountability Office, has found that Christie "misstated" several key facts to support his decision to cancel the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) project, which was the largest public works project in the nation at the time, reports Kate Zernike.

The report refutes two key arguments central to Christie's reasoning, escalating cost estimates and New Jersey's share of that cost and any overruns.

Writes Zernike:

"The report...found that while Mr. Christie said that state transportation officials had revised cost estimates for the tunnel to at least $11 billion and potentially more than $14 billion, the range of estimates had in fact remained unchanged in the two years before he announced in 2010 that he was shutting down the project."

Furthermore:

"Mr. Christie also misstated New Jersey's share of the costs: he said the state would pay 70 percent of the project; the report found that New Jersey was paying 14.4 percent. And while the governor said that an agreement with the federal government would require the state to pay all cost overruns, the report found that there was no final agreement, and that the federal government had made several offers to share those costs."

So why the hard sell on cancelling a project the Governor had supported during his campaign and as late as four months into office? Zernike notes that critics have suggested the decision, "was more about avoiding the need to raise the state's gasoline tax, which would have violated a campaign promise. The governor subsequently steered $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to the state's near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax."

Full Story: Report Disputes Christie’s Basis for Halting Tunnel

Comments

Comments

Priorities

Hey, we have to have priorities here in NJ. Why would we want to waste billions of dollars to improve transportation connectivity to the massive job center of New York City when we have a giant mall in the middle of a swamp that needs to be subsidized?

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

ARC report published by GAO now available

The NYT article stated, "The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released this week,..."

Here is their report, titled "Potential Impacts and Cost Estimates for the Cancelled Hudson River Tunnel Project"

What GAO Found
Studies estimated that the Access to the Region’s Core commuter rail project would have provided mobility benefits, but other benefits would either have been limited or are difficult to measure. According to various studies:.......
http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589192.pdf

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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