Report On Trans-Hudson Tunnel Disputes Christie’s Cost Fears


chris-christieA new report by independent congressional investigators is raising questions about why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scrapped the Hudson River rail tunnel project in 2010.

Christie had said he feared cost overruns when he canceled what was then the largest public works project in the nation.

But a Government Accountability Office report to be released this week, said the governor misstated New Jersey’s share of the costs by over 50 percent and the federal government had made offers to share in cost overruns.

Christie used $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to save the state’s near-bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund, avoiding a hike in the gas tax.

Christie was asked to respond to the report while leaving an event Tuesday morning on the Upper West Side and had only one thing to say.

“The federal government was wrong before, they’re wrong again,” Christie said.

The report was done at the request of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, an ardent supporter of mass transit and critic of Christie.

In a statement, Lautenberg accused the governor of sacrificing the future of New Jersey commuters for his own short-term political gain.

The project would have included two more tunnels under the river to relieve congestion. Christie abandoned it in the fall of 2010, citing escalating costs and feared overruns of up to $5 billion.

A Christie spokesman said the report failed to consider other expenses associated with the tunnel and the fluctuating estimates suggest no one really knew how much the project would cost.

The project was estimated to be between $9 billion and $14 billion.

In 2010, federal authorities mailed New Jersey a bill for $271 million for engineering and construction work that had been completed on the tunnel before the project was canceled.

Last fall, Christie announced the federal government agreed to accept a $95 million settlement to be paid in annual installments until 2014.

{CBS New York/AP/ Newscenter}


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