N.J. Gov. Christie not ready to deliver final blow to Trans-Hudson Tunnel project

Leader says he will listen to offers, but stresses again that New Jersey taxpayers will not be stuck with bill

News Associated Press October 19, 2010
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s clench fist is now open to a hand out.

On Oct. 19, the state head said he would consider starting up the Trans-Hudson Tunnel again if someone else steps up and provides the financing.

The current price tag for the project sits at $9-10 billion, but Christie has projected that it could soar to as much as $14 billion. New Jersey would be responsible for as much as $5 billion.

“[Options are] going to come to me Friday,” Christie said in a news conference. “If there are ways that other people are going to be responsible, I’m happy to look at it. If it ends up that New Jerseyans are the ones on the hook for $2 billion to $5 billion for a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s, I say, ‘No, thank you.’”

Christie initially killed the tunnel project, but after being urged by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood he agreed to a two-week reprieve. However, if the answers do not come by Friday Christie said he has no problem walking away for good.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg said a public-private partnership is a possibility, but investors will not talk about a deal until Christie restarts the project.

In the meantime, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group has been putting the heat on Christie to move forward with construction. It has delivered approximately 200 letters from commuters describing how train congestion has made their commutes worse.

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