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Christie On The Defensive As Commuters Gripe About Mass Transit Delays

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TRENTON, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on the hot seat on Friday night, accused of not doing enough to help commuters.

A New Jersey Transit rider ended up in an online back-and-forth with the governor after tweeting at Christie to complain about major delays.

Now, the governor is talking about it.

There were no delays to report at midday on Friday, but commuters say rush hour is a different story.

“Usually it’s sitting on the train and the conductor will come on and say ‘we’re so close to Newark or New York and there’s an issue with the Amtrak tracks’ and because of that now we’re delayed two hours,” Westfield resident, Samantha Gruskin said.

Many riders told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that sharing tracks with Amtrak is the cause of their headaches.

They’re still fuming over Governor Christie’s cancellation of a project that would have created a new tunnel under the Hudson River for trains.

It was dubbed ARC, short for Access to the Region’s Core.

“I think it was a bad idea and I don’t see Chris Christie traveling on New Jersey Transit trains too often,” Neil Meyers said.

The governor said the deal would not have worked for New Jersey.

“It was a bad deal. It’s still a bad deal. Just because some people are aggravated because there are some delays on a Friday night, doesn’t mean I am going to make a multi-billion-dollar decision to change course,” Christie said.

Governor Christie’s comments come after a feud on Twitter with angry commuters.

“They’re wrong. That’s what I have to say to them. They’re wrong,” the governor said.

“ARC tunnel. You are killing our home values and the NJ economy. We hang in there at least with delays four times a week,” one man tweeted.

It was a response to the governor’s ‘hang in there’ tweet following an August 8, train delay.

Some were annoyed that Christie was tweeting pictures of the Jersey Shore while they were stuck on trains.

His response; don’t follow him.

The governor said that he is open to extending the 7-train into Secaucus from Manhattan, but that New York has to pay its fair share.

“The thing that angers New Jersyans more is getting shafted by New York, and I am not going to let that happen on my watch,” Christie said.

For its part NJ Transit said that it has a shipment of a hundred new multi-level rail cars and that it is exploring cost sharing ideas with New York over the 7-train proposal.

NJ Transit said that it is also looking at another project with Amtrak to help reduce delays.

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