TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – You know that tunnel under the Hudson River that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided not to build because it was too expensive? An escalating war of words over returning federal funds already spent on the canceled project could cost the state even more money in the eyes of the leader of the opposition in Trenton.

The feds want their $271 million back. Governor Christie has filed a formal appeal of that decision, insisting projected cost overruns made the project too expensive.

That leads Senate President Steve Sweeney to ponder, “If the federal government decides that they want all their money back and the governor just chose not to cooperate, are we going to lose more federal money?”

Washington DC has offered $128 million in what amount to credits if New Jersey pays back the ARC tunnel debt in full. If not, Sweeney worries that New Jersey won’t just lose the credits. The feds, he worries, will just take the money from pending projects through a process called “administrative offset.”

He’s asking Christie to at least tell people what Washington-based lawyers he’s hired have told him of the likelihood the state will win in the end.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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