Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christie: No regrets on canceling Hudson River project

ASBURY PARK, N.J. - Gov. Christie says he has no regrets about canceling a rail tunnel project that would have increased commuter capacity between New Jersey and Manhattan.

Christie spent more than six hours last week exchanging Twitter messages with delayed NJ Transit riders, some of whom blamed his 2010 cancellation of the project - known as Access to the Region's Core, or ARC - for their woes.

But Christie said Friday that he had "absolutely no second thoughts" about the decision and that no amount of complaining would change his mind.

"They're wrong," he said of the social-media critics, slamming the planned $8.7 billion Hudson River tunnel as "an awfully conceived project" that would have put the state on the hook for up to $5 billion in projected cost overruns.

"It was a bad deal. It's still a bad deal. And just because some people get aggravated on Friday night because there's delays doesn't mean I'm going to make a multibillion dollar decision to change course," he said during a boardwalk news conference.

Christie had commiserated with the riders, telling them to "hang in there." He explained the delays were caused by Amtrak repairs.

Still, he acknowledged that "we can do a better job of communicating" with riders and said he'd relayed that message directly to NJ Transit.

Christie said he is still open to two other transit infrastructure projects: an extension of New York's No. 7 subway line and Amtrak's Gateway tunnel project. He said he would support whichever project has the most support - but only if New York is forced to pay its fair share.

"The thing that angers New Jerseyans more than anything else is getting shafted by New York. And I'm not going to let it happen on my watch," he said.

Jill Colvin Associated Press
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