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Bridge-gate Widens to Include ARC Tunnel Cancellation

Remember the $8.7 billion Hudson River rail tunnel project that Chris Christie canceled in 2010 shortly after becoming governor? N.J. legislators investigating the September lane shut-down on the George Washington Bridge are now connecting the dots.
February 16, 2014, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Matt Katz of New Jersey Public Radio reports that among the subjects covered by the 18 new subpoenas issued on Feb. 10 by the New Jersey joint legislative committee investigating the four-day Fort Lee lane shut-downs beginning Sept. 9, 2013 is "Christie's controversial 2010 cancellation of the ARC (Access to the Region's Core) tunnel) into New York City, apparently fact-checking Christie's claims of cost overruns."

We posted a New York Times article on just that topic on April 11, 2012. Indeed, it was found that the now scandal-embroiled governor "had '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," according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office.

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.

Referencing that 2012 report, Christopher Baxter of The Star-Ledgewrites on Feb.12 that "the report also said there was no way to determine who would get the bill for overruns because negotiations among New Jersey, the Port Authority and the federal government never got that far."

Mark J. Magyar of NJ Spotlight writes why the two key state legislators widened the scope of their investigation.

For Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), the committee’s cochairs, the addition of the ARC Tunnel cancellation, the September 2011 Port Authority toll hike, and all records related to Christie’s recommendations for hiring at the Port Authority are in keeping with their pledge that the probe would widen to focus on systemic problems at the bistate agency.

Readers may be interested in watching msnbc's Rachel Maddow interview WNYC investigative journalist, Andrea Bernstein (and director of Transportation Nation) on Feb. 13. Bernstein has doggedly covered Bridge-gate (as has Maddow) and also the greater issue of the integrity of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Bernstein explains the relevance of the ARC investigation to Bridge-gate.

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Published on Thursday, February 13, 2014 in WNYC: Transportation Nation
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