Gov. Christie May Stop Trans-Hudson Tunnel In Its Tracks

TRENTON, N.J. (1010WINS / WCBS 880 / CBS 2 ) — The nation’s most expensive transit project has been stopped in its tracks.

Governor Chris Christie is threatening to permanently put the brakes on construction of a new tunnel that could make life easier for New Jersey commuters.

Construction crews were still working on the new ARC Tunnel Project near Tonnelle Avenue Wednesday, but Governor Christie has temporarily stopped work in other spots, saying he wants to review costs.

Now, leaks within the administration indicate Christie wants to pull the plug on the new tunnel, but Christie told CBS 2 on Wednesday that he has made no decision, and that he put a halt on the project because no one can tell him how much it would cost.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports.

“The only thing they could tell me for sure was whatever it ran over $8.7 billion, the only people on the hook for that money were the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey,” he said.

The governor said his decision came after an audit that found the project was rushed to start, with a total cost of $8 billion. The federal government has committed $3 billion.

Transportation officials say the ARC, short for Access to the Region’s Core, would allow New Jersey Transit to run more than twice as many trains as it does now under the Hudson River.

Commuters are hopeful that the tunnel would make their trip run more smoothly.

“It would be easier for people to have more trains, and the commute would be easier,” one commuter said.

Democrats like Christie’s predecessor, Jon Corzine, who celebrated at the ARC’s groundbreaking ceremony in 2009, had promised to keep the project running.

Democrat John Wisniewski, chair of the State Assembly’s Transportation Committee, said Christie, a Republican, wants to squash the plan for national political gain.

“What this really is about, is a governor trying to burnish Republican credentials nationwide, by saying to folks in Ohio, and Illinois, and everywhere else he’s traveling, that he was able to fix the transportation trust fund without finding a new source of revenue, without raising the tax,” Wisniewski said.

Christie, however, denies national political ambition.

“I am not running for President of the United States under any circumstances, under any scenario” he said.

Meanwhile, work continues on the first phase of the project. Democrats, like Wisniewski, say a project stoppage could cost the state 6,000 jobs in construction.

“It will totally devastate a lot of workers,” one construction worker said. “There are a lot of workers that are laid off.”

The hope had been to have trains running by 2016, but now the entire project remains in limbo.

Governor Christie said he’s even willing to accept money from New York City to help pay for the project, but that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not offered to do so.

Neither New Jersey Transit nor the Port Authority, which is also funding the project, had comment on Wednesday.

More from Christine Sloan
  • Ajapierce

    I wish you people would stop complaing about things Christie is cutting. He cut $9 Billion out of the state budget deficit, so now you want him to take on close to or more then another $9 billion in debt.

    How about this, why doesn’t Christie raise the property taxes 500% in towns that have trains that commute into NYC to pay for the tunnel expanasion. Because last time i checked only about 1/30th of the state has access to trains going into NYC.

    Don’t complain about what Christie is doing, he’s doing the job he said he was. And to complain about how 6,000 people are going to loose thier jobs, is a load of BS. That same constrution people are working for crooked unions that are stealing the money.

    You can’t possibly tell me you’d have a construction person come over to your house to work on a $5,000 project only to come back with a bill for $12,500 or 2.5 times the original amount. What makes you think Christie should have to put up with that nonsense either?

    If you want the money to build these tunnels, dismantle all the crooked construction unions and start fresh with people who are paid normal amounts of money and not stupid amounts of money.

    There is no way i can justify a State electrician’s that’s part of a union charing $250 hour to do simple work that most regulat electricians charge at $100-$150 an hour. State Union electrions are making an attorney’s fee. Cut that amount of money down, and you’ll get your tunnel.

  • Susan

    I feel personally betrayed by Christie. We bought a house in Somerville partly on the belief that this tunnel will be finished. This is a direct blow to this town and all the towns along the line. Plus, the $3 billion dollars that the state was going to get from the federal government won’t be coming without the tunnel. And 6000 jobs will be lost. There was also a study done saying that houses in the Raritan Valley Corridor would go up $19,000 in value. So Christie’s costing me $19,000. Don’t ask me to like it. Be sure I’ll remember it during the next election. It’s not the kind of thing it’s easy to forget.

    • ajapierce

      I odn’t understand why you would move out to somewhere before the tunnel project was even completed. That to me sounds pretty un-planned for, considering that fact that if you believer the values of the houses would go up by about $19,000 dollars, that would also insanely increase your property taxes too, which is the opposite of what Christie is trying to do.

      Christie is trying to get the property taxes to go down so people can still afford to live in this state. NJ is getting pinched badly by a lot of houses for sale or in forclosure.

  • bettyboop

    Next NY can kill the even more expensive Moynihan Station fiasco!

  • fred w.

    the united states is a third world country when it comes to mass transit and rail travel.

  • dc2287

    I can’t see why Gov. Christie is squaking. If he needs more finance, he can always float more bond money and pay it off with ridership tokens over the years. In the meanwhile, he is just getting free inches in print.

  • brooklynnative

    So let’s get this straight.,. The governor who is against government waste is making a decision that will result in the $600,000,000 already spent on the project being wasted for nothing. In exchange, he’s giving up increased revenue vis-a-vis the expected increase in property values and the additional disposable income NJ residents would have as a result of earning higher salaries in NYC thanks to the ability to have a better commute into Manhattan. All of that money, of course, could have been used to pay for the cost overruns over time. Instead, the governor would rather put more cars on the roads which would require more money to maintain the highways and bridges, money that the state doesn’t have because, in Governor Christie’s words, New Jersey is broke. Talk about short sightedness and an inability or unwillingness to see the big picture.

    Of course he’s killing the project. There is zero benefit to Christie if he lets it move on as planned. As far as ARC goes, once it was completed, he would have been a mere footnote in the story of the tunnels. But if he kills the project, the benefits to his political career are large and long lasting. And making moves that would result in more cars on New Jersey’s already at-capacity roadways is only going to hurt th state. We all know that expanding capacity on highways does not improve traffic conditions, but rather, it makes them worse by attracting more drivers. We need to get more people out of their cars and onto mass transportation if NJ is going to remain competitive.

    New Jersey polticians have to accept the fact that they can no longer continue to brag about having the third lowest gasoline taxes in the nation. It’s completely counter-productive. Raising the gas tax by a mere 5 or 10 cents per gallon would result in a big revenue increase. And it’s what municipalities do. People are charged for the privelege of driving to their destinations and in exchange, they subsidize mass transit through gasoline and other taxes associated with driving a car. It’s the way we do things in America. Thank you governor Christie for taking the state of New Jersey back 20 or 30 years with this move to kill ARC.

    • Betsey

      He is saving us huge money even if you don’t like how he’s doing it! Do more research and come back. He’s doing what he promised and knows some won’t like it! We need more biz in NJ!

  • A

    Things do cot money but not in a time of recession. Not all of us make $500k a year and get to use government cars for our commute, get to stay in the governor’s mansion. Reducing property taxes on one end and then hiking prices in others and cutting down on services doesn’t justify anything. Has he come out saying he’ll take a pay cut to set an example?

  • Jerry Leigh

    He made his position clear, when he was running for office. New Jerseyans want less taxes, this is what they get. Things cost money, you know.

  • A

    Christie just wants to cut everything. He should cut down his own salary and the salaries of all his close associates. NJ Transit increased fares by 25% this year. Where is that extra money going? With the fare hike, NJ Transit’s service has deteriorated. They’re taking advantage of the fact that commuters have no other choice. And guess who’s on the board of NJ Transit, the governor. That too explains the lousy service and high fares.

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