TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Federal officials say New Jersey Governor Chris Christie knew the Garden State would have to repay federal funds spent on the canceled Hudson River rail tunnel.

The Record newspaper reports Christie successfully urged federal officials in April to use a type of funding agreement that federal law requires to be repaid if the state backed out.

Federal Transportation Department documents show New Jersey Transit sought a new Early System Work Agreement in January to speed up the project.

Christie reaffirmed New Jersey’s commitment to the project in an April 8 letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The governor called the tunnel “critical for the transit riders of New Jersey and the region.”

Christie canceled the project October 27, citing potential cost overruns.

NJ Transit on Thursday hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to fight the Federal Transit Administration’s $271 million bill.

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