A day after ordering an end to construction of the tunnel, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said he had agreed to a two-week review of "several options to potentially salvage a trans-Hudson tunnel project."
The planned rail tunnel under the Hudson River may not be dead.
A day after ordering an end to construction of the tunnel, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said he had agreed to a two-week review of “several options to potentially salvage a trans-Hudson tunnel project.” Christie said the ideas had been presented by Ray LaHood, the U.S. transportation secretary.
LaHood went to Trenton on Friday to meet with Christie because he was unhappy the governor had decided to scrap a project on which construction had started and that had received a commitment of $6 billion from the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Christie, a Republican, on Thursday withdrew support for the project — known as Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC — saying it would cost New Jersey at least $2.5 billion more than expected and the state could not afford the escalating total.
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The governor did not back away from that position Friday. After his meeting with LaHood, Christie said, “The fact that the ARC project is not financially viable and is expected to dramatically exceed its current budget remains unchanged.”
But Christie said he had acceded to LaHood’s request that he have state transit officials study the options the secretary presented for the next two weeks. Neither Christie nor LaHood said what those options were.
The project had been in the works for about 20 years. Currently, NJ Transit commuter trains and Amtrak cars share a century-old two-track tunnel beneath the Hudson River. The new tunnel would add two more tracks, more than doubling the number of NJ Transit trains that could pass under the river.
Construction began last year on the tunnel, on which about $600 million has been spent, $130 million of that in federal stimulus money. New Jersey could be on the hook to repay half of what’s been spent to the federal government if it breaks its commitment.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.