It’s Time For NJ To Pay Up For Cancelled Tunnel

TRENTON, NJ (AP/CBS New York) –Lawyers for New Jersey were expected to take nearly all the time available Tuesday to respond to the federal government’s demands to reimburse it for costs associated with canceled plans to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

The Federal Transit Authority set a deadline of midnight Tuesday for the state to either send Washington $271 million or file a formal appeal.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, said the state’s lawyers will respond in time. But he wouldn’t say whether New Jersey would be sending a check or an appeal.

Federal authorities say the state owes it for engineering and construction work done on the tunnel before Gov. Chris Christie canceled the project in October, saying New Jersey was going to have to foot too much of the bill, including any costs above the $8.7 billion budget.

Christie, a Republican who has slashed state spending, said the extra costs could have added up to between $2 billion and $5 billion.

At the time, it was the most expensive public works project in the country. The tunnel was intended to double the capacity for trains traveling between New York City and New Jersey, routes that are now close to capacity and frequently delayed.

Christie’s administration so far has resisted paying the back the federal government, and hired a law firm known for lobbying to try to get out of the bill.

The federal government says $128 million would be credited back to the state to ease traffic jams once the state pays in full.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • MasterLeeMochow

  • Himmy O

    New Jersey Gov Christie’s decision to kill the NJ & NY tunnel was short sighted. Why not split the cost over run figure between NY state/ nyc/ federal gov’t and new jersey.

    An open management structure to control cost should have been started at the beginning. Before NJ Transit awarded the bids / contracts.
    Yes – union and private construction / engineering company were operating in old scheme. “Do not worry about cost over run. Some one will pay for it.

    Gov Christie choose not to talk to the parties involved. So now he hires other legal eagles to try to run away from Federal Bill, that was spent already which private contractors / engineering firms and labor union worker completed work.

    Pay the bill.
    NJ Transit management spend the the money already!

  • Joel

    Its not clear cut. the state expect a certain cost and the price/cost mushroomed like crazy, why should the state have to lay out the extra 2 – 5 billion which is a tremendous amount. most people sign a contract and the contractor usually must adhere to that price within normal parameters or be sued. there is a major problem with public works projects costs balloning out of control from the amount when the original contracts are signed. this is not limited to New Jersey. would the federeal gov. have provided extra funds at least in ratio the the amount the overall cost would go up? if not, then i understand Christie’s concern. if the feds would have increased the grant in at least a ratio of original cost to overuns, then that might be a differnt case; emphasis on the word “might” depending on the situation.

  • Flynn

    Jersey Joey and Steve G,

    Regardless of the fact you agree with Gov Christie’s decision to kill the project, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that your state owes $271 million dollars to the Gov’t.

    So I hope the Governor has his checkbook ready…and you should too, since it will eventually come out of your pockets.

  • Rob

    This was the worst example of short sightness EVER ! Christie could have made a deal. NY/NJ and the Feds have to work together to fix the rail system. It’s one of the worst in the world. Save money on the real problem state workers…. They don’t need the train I guess. Lol

  • geeoff culter

    this is a classic example of the short-sighted reactionary politics that is destroying our country. True leaders provide the guidance to show the long term cost benefits of a project like this, rather than wasting 271 million dollars of very hard earned taxpayer dollars cancelling a project like this after commitments have been made. shame on christie for wasting money and destroying much needed jobs.

  • jerseyjoey

    Hey, i dont want to fund a tunnel, why should i pay higher taxes so the rats can scurry out of NYC and come pullute already polluted jersey, geez give me va break here huh.

  • Steven G

    I think the governor was right. This project would be a tremendous over budget delight for big labor. People would be able to rush into Manhattan to get their mindless minimum wage jobs. The state would be even closer to bankruptcy and bonds would cost even more to service. The governor is corect and the buck stops here.

  • Josh

    It’s a NJ Transit tunnel. They should foot whatever was agreed to. As far as any extra costs, the smart move for Christie would have been to renegotiate that portion of the deal when he took over. Instead he threatened to kill the deal and didn’t use his leverage to renegotiate. Jobs are lost and Christie bears all responsibility for such short-sightedness.

    • James

      It is short-sighted only if you aren’t a Republican reducing the United States to a third-world pauper nation.

      • ham

        Bad analogy, third world pauper nations have dirt roads, not rail tunnels under their rivers. So that’s where we can be headed.

        Shortsighted because of the loss of revenue generated by people working in NY and by increasing commerce and trade between the two states. But we can have our dirt road.

        Since you bring in Republican politics we will be a third world nation to footing the bill of the mid-east war, still costing millions a day.

  • Flynn

    What’s there to respond with…other than a check?

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