TRENTON – Assembly Transportation Chairman John Wisniewski said that documents obtained through an Open Public Records Act request provide no justification for Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to terminate the ARC Tunnel project.
“The documents provided by the governor’s own administration fail to provide any justification for the governor’s claim of billions in cost overruns on the tunnel project,” said Wisniewksi (D-Middlesex) . “That claim seems as though it was simply pulled out of thin air by the governor.”
The ARC Tunnel project would double rail capacity between New Jersey and New York and could reduce some commuters’ travel time by up to 30 minutes, according to a study released last week. The project is budgeted at $8.7 billion, with the federal government and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey each contributing $3 billion towards the cost. New Jersey is responsible for the remaining money, including any cost overruns.
On Oct. 7, Christie announced that he was canceling the project because New Jersey could not afford “billions in cost overruns.” “The ARC project costs far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this project,” the governor said.
The governor agreed to review his decision after meeting with federal transportation officials earlier this month, but he is expected to re-affirm his original plan to kill the project, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
“Over-the-top sound bites by Gov. Christie aside, the fact is the OPRA documents include reports dated July 30, Aug. 24 and Oct. 5. All of the reports include the following statement: ‘The overall project remains within budget.’ The next sentence in each report indicates the total project budget is $8.7 billion,” said Wisniewksi.
“This project is vital to New Jersey’s economic and transportation future. Now that we know for certain that the governor cannot support his cost overrun claims, it’s time for him to act like a leader and get this project moving forward.”
The documents can be viewed at: http://www.assemblydems.com/Article.asp?ArticleID=3203
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