Shortly after taking office New Jersey Governor Chris Christie canceled a tunnel project, which was the largest public works project in the nation, that would connect New Jersey and New York and relieve congestion on other routes.
Christie’s rationale for canceling the project was that is simply cost too much, and that it was a “bad deal” for New Jersey, but according to The New York Times, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that Christie made all of that up.
The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released this week, found that while Mr. Christie said that state transportation officials had revised cost estimates for the tunnel to at least $11 billion and potentially more than $14 billion, the range of estimates had in fact remained unchanged in the two years before he announced in 2010 that he was shutting down the project. And state transportation officials, the report says, had said the cost would be no more than $10 billion.
Mr. Christie also misstated New Jersey’s share of the costs: he said the state would pay 70 percent of the project; the report found that New Jersey was paying 14.4 percent. And while the governor said that an agreement with the federal government would require the state to pay all cost overruns, the report found that there was no final agreement, and that the federal government had made several offers to share those costs. [...]
Shutting down the tunnel project extinguished the best hope to relieve the increasing congestion not only between New Jersey and Manhattan, but also along the popular high-speed route between Boston and Washington. Now, Amtrak and New Jersey trains share two 100-year-old single-track tunnels under the Hudson. As the report notes, those tracks now operate at capacity, and demand for mass transit between New Jersey and Manhattan is expected to grow 38 percent by 2030.
Because Chris Christie was more concerned about his image as a spending hawk rather than desperately needed infrastructure improvements, he put the livelihoods and possibly even the lives of New Jersey residents at risk.
A future administration could revive the tunnel project, but it will inevitably be more expensive to build in 2014 than it was in 2010.
Remember this the next time Christie gets red-faced, throws a tantrum, and calls someone in his audience an idiot.