TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – New Jersey governor Chris Christie is standing by his decision to cancel a multibillion-dollar rail tunnel linking North Jersey with Lower Manhattan, insisting it simply costs too much.
Cost overruns for the ARC (“Access to the Region’s Core”) project continue to be estimated in the $2-billion to $5-billion range.
But apparently two weeks of consideration, including weekend talks with US transportation secretary Ray LaHood, didn’t do much to change those numbers.
So Christie says his earlier decision to halt the tunnel project stands:
“I cannot place upon the citizens of the State of New Jersey an open-ended letter of credit, and that’s what this project represents because New Jersey would be on the hook for every dollar the project goes over budget.”
As for where the money now committed to the project might go — perhaps some to a now-suspended light rail link in Gloucester County — Christie was noncommittal. But he did suggest the tunnel project could be revived at some point, with Amtrak and other regional governments sharing the bill.
Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio.