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Thread: Gov. Christie killing N.Y.-N.J. rail tunnel project

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    Gov. Christie killing N.Y.-N.J. rail tunnel project

    www.northjersey.com

    I cannot believe this.

    Hopefully the Governor will reconsider or work out a deal.


    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Last updated: Thursday October 7, 2010, 5:45 PM

    BY JOSH MARGOLIN AND MIKE FRASSINELLI

    STATE HOUSE BUREAU

    TRENTON — Governor Christie Thursday killed the controversial, multi-billion dollar Hudson River commuter train tunnel — America’s largest public works project — ending for now the two-decade-old quest to expand train capacity between New Jersey and midtown Manhattan.

    "I have made a pledge to the people of New Jersey that on my watch I will not allow taxpayers to fund projects that run over budget with no clear way of how these costs will be paid for,” said the governor. “Considering the unprecedented fiscal and economic climate our State is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for billions in cost overruns.

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will meet with Christie on Friday "to discuss a path forward on the ARC tunnel project," LaHood's press secretary, Olivia Alair, said in an e-mail.

    Democrats in Congress said Christie's decision would kill 6,000 jobs for construction workers and let the $3 billion in federal funding promised for the project go to other states.

    Christie called the project "critical for the transit riders of New Jersey and the region" in a letter to LaHood in April, and Sen. Bob Menendez said reversing his position "puts our state's credibility for future transportation funding investments at serious risk.

    "It would seem a more sensible and level-headed approach on behalf of New Jersey workers, commuters and taxpayers would be to take a deep breath, work with all of the parties involved to identify ways to rein in the costs and get the tunnel built," said Menendez, D-N.J.

    Christie said Thursday the tunnel project costs “far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this project.”

    James Weinstein, the executive director of NJ Transit, in a statement, said while the state recognized the importance and value of a cross-Hudson transportation improvement project, “the current economic climate in New Jersey simply does not allow for this project to continue considering the substantial additional costs that are required.”

    The governor said he has directed the state’s transportation officials to explore other approaches to modernize and expand rail capacity into New York. “However, any future project must recognize the regional and national scale of such an effort and work within the scope of the State’s current fiscal and economic realities,” he said.

    Christie called a 30-day temporary halt in September on new tunnel construction, as behind-the-scenes cost projections suggested the tunnel project costs would swell more than $1 billion above the $8.7 million proposed price tag. He said he didn’t want the New Jersey version of Boston’s "Big Dig" — a tunnel mega-project that saw the final tally climb to nearly ten times the original $2.8 billion estimate.

    At the same time, the governor was confronted with the state’s nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for road and bridge repairs and transit services. Christie had vowed not to increase the gas tax to pay for the fund, saying that drivers already had to contend with New Jersey Turnpike toll hikes and state residents already have been taxed too much, and there has been growing speculation that Christie will shift the state’s share of the tunnel project into the trust fund.

    The federal government has earmarked $3 billion for the tunnel project, with another $3 billion being funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the final $2.7 billion coming from the state of New Jersey. Christie said the federal commitment is capped at $3 billion and required that any costs above $8.7 billion be absorbed by the State of New Jersey. According to the governor, cost overruns are estimated to be in a range from more than $2 billion to over $5 billion.

    Formally known as Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC, the tunnel was to double train capacity to and from America’s largest city by the end of 2018, increasing the Garden State’s access to wealthy city jobs. Up to $600 million had already been spent on planning and construction work.

    Tunnel opponents maintained the project was rushed together so then-Gov. Jon Corzine could get a re-election campaign photo opportunity at a ceremonial groundbreaking in summer 2009. They also said the tunnel, which was to end at West 34th Street in Manhattan, lacked connectivity to Penn Station and Manhattan’s prosperous east side. NJ Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel dubbed it the "tunnel to Macy’s basement."

    Proponents said the project would have created 6,000 construction-related jobs annually and close to 45,000 permanent jobs once completed.

    “It’s hard to comprehend what has persuaded the governor to look askance at $6 billion plus, saying that it’s not a good idea for New Jersey,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg said at a press conference held at Newark Penn Station on Thursday afternoon. “I think he is talking to the wrong people. He should be talking to the people who are out there stuck in their cars in the morning wanting to go to work. Or the families who are worried about the air their kids breathe. Or who are concerned about what the long range implications are for the well-being of New Jersey.

    “That’s not what the governor has asked for,” Lautenberg said. “He hasn’t said ‘Let’s sit down, let’s reason this out.’ He said ‘No, no, no.’”

    -- Washington correspondent Herb Jackson and staff writer William Lamb contributed to this story.

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    So wait, being concerned about cost overruns is a problem?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDCentStOhio View Post
    So wait, being concerned about cost overruns is a problem?
    Being concerned warrants talking to the Federal Transportation agency and the Port Authority. Trying to cut a deal for any possible over-runs. You know negotiation and diplomacy. What leaders do. And if a solution is not worked out then you cancel the project.

    One of the (very few) themes the Governor ran on was that by raising taxes NJ is causing wealthy residents move out of NJ. Doesn't he realize that the awful commute of folks from northern NJ is causing them to move out, too?

    And this commute is only going to get worse.

  4. #4
    """I have made a pledge to the people of New Jersey that on my watch I will not allow taxpayers to fund projects that run over budget with no clear way of how these costs will be paid for. Considering the unprecedented fiscal and economic climate our State is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for billions in cost overruns."""

    This is how a President Christie will be made.

    It's 100% the opposite of the clown in the White House now - I don't know what news sources you read, Buster, but the economy is in shambles - they're accusing gov't of fudging unemployment numbers (and if you've noticed, the administration is getting hit pretty hard with their BP handling truthfulness ... trust has eroded) - and the answer to everything is patience and spend.

    Spending is 100% out of control and needs to stop yesterday. Please reread Christie's quote and consider the wonderful shape Corzine left NJ.

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    what a fool christie is...history has shown metro-commuter railways and/or subways are always a profitable venutre and are never in need of taxpayer bailouts...

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    Gotta agree with Christie on this.

    Christie called a 30-day temporary halt in September on new tunnel construction, as behind-the-scenes cost projections suggested the tunnel project costs would swell more than $1 billion above the $8.7 million[sic...should be billion] proposed price tag.
    That's an 11.5% increase...way above normal project contingency rates. The project is hemorrhaging money. Having a few meetings to rein in costs isn't gonna cut it. I've been to meetings like that on big projects....clusterf*ck is the best way to describe it.

    Better to go back to the drawing board.

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    It's often fun to look at how many individual human beings are made more comfotable by the end result.

    Some of these kinds of projects, when compared to after-completion ridership figures, would make you puke out your lunch. In some cases, you could have bough every train rider a nice used BMW instead...every year.....for ten years.....before you'd meet the costs put out.

    Don't know if thats the case in NJ of course, I don't live there. But Public Rail is often a "help an already afluent tiny minority" of riders at massive costs to taxpayers. One of the PR hurdles rail has done a great job of hiding.

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    BTW...

    I like this Christie guy. He isn't your normal Jesus-freak, pseudo-patriotic platitude uttering, Stepford Republican sound bite automaton freakazoid. He's all business. I bet the farm, he pisses off a few of the Republican "establishment" in a presidential run...he doesn't care. If it costs money, it's gone.

    Show me another Republican like him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    It's often fun to look at how many individual human beings are made more comfotable by the end result.

    Some of these kinds of projects, when compared to after-completion ridership figures, would make you puke out your lunch. In some cases, you could have bough every train rider a nice used BMW instead...every year.....for ten years.....before you'd meet the costs put out.

    Don't know if thats the case in NJ of course, I don't live there. But Public Rail is often a "help an already afluent tiny minority" of riders at massive costs to taxpayers. One of the PR hurdles rail has done a great job of hiding.
    wf im not sure why, over the years, you have been consistently anti-rail.

    but please keep in mind, there are not enough highways to adequately entertain your alternative BMW scenario during rush hour.

    there is an opportunity cost that no one seems to want to talk about and it's traffic. trains lessen traffic. workers are not productive stuck in traffic. gasoline that is idled away is wasted energy. depreciation on cars is obscene. there are more car accidents than any kind of sudden death for all those under 35 years old.

    trains also improve property values within walking distance of the stops. there are many benefits to rail that go beyond the operating ledgers of organizations like amtrak, nj transit and mta. every time there's some kind of strike, the highways are snarled.

    best of all you don't have to take your shoes and belt off before you get on a train. if the chinese, japan and europe and everyone else in the 1st world has figured out rail is the way forward, why are we different?
    Last edited by bitonti; 10-07-2010 at 10:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlumberKhan View Post
    If it costs money, it's gone.
    everything costs money.

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    Jersey is closed, all full.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Come Back to NY View Post
    history has shown metro-commuter railways and/or subways

    history has shown metro-commuter railways and/or subways has made NYC the greatest city in the USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    everything costs money.
    True...but a project running 11.5% over budget is pretty eye opening. Especially when you're talking 11.5% of 8.7 billion. That's a lot of dough. You can't cut costs on a project like that by having subs rework their bids...you really need to step back to square one and start over.

    If he didn't kill this, guaranteed the project would have went over budget by more than that. Sub's are hungry for work....submit a new RFP and see where the chips fall...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PlumberKhan View Post
    True...but a project running 11.5% over budget is pretty eye opening. Especially when you're talking 11.5% of 8.7 billion. That's a lot of dough. You can't cut costs on a project like that by having subs rework their bids...you really need to step back to square one and start over.

    If he didn't kill this, guaranteed the project would have went over budget by more than that. Sub's are hungry for work....submit a new RFP and see where the chips fall...



    What team of geniuses decided the plan was 11.5% over?

    Was this assessment made by an independent auditor?

    Or was it made by a group of people who had a something to gain by canceling this project?

    The original ‘deal’ was made with the Bush Administration, The Port Authority, and The Corzine administration. Three groups all with different interests involved. I imagine Mayor Bloomberg and the Governor Paterson had some input, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    It's often fun to look at how many individual human beings are made more comfotable by the end result.

    Some of these kinds of projects, when compared to after-completion ridership figures, would make you puke out your lunch. In some cases, you could have bough every train rider a nice used BMW instead...every year.....for ten years.....before you'd meet the costs put out.

    Don't know if thats the case in NJ of course, I don't live there. But Public Rail is often a "help an already afluent tiny minority" of riders at massive costs to taxpayers. One of the PR hurdles rail has done a great job of hiding.

    I have heard but cannot find a link saying the current tunnels are at 96% capacity

    With New Jersey Transit's rail service into New York's Penn Station at capacity, the new tunnel project would have added 70,000 daily riders and, eventually, 40,000 new jobs in the region, according to various estimates.
    -Asbury Park Press
    www.app.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    I have heard but cannot find a link saying the current tunnels are at 96% capacity



    www.app.com
    "Reworking the bids" won't cut costs, blowing up the process can cut costs. We get it, you don't like Christie. But this looks like a good idea to me. And guess what, I predict your tunnels will eventually be built at a lower cost. And I am sure you will be the first to post a kudos to Christie thread about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    history has shown metro-commuter railways and/or subways has made NYC the greatest city in the USA
    lol; meanwhile 1099 employess/sub contractors in western, central and northern NY who never stepped foot on a subway were forced to pay additional "commuter" tax in 2009 to bail out the MTA....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Come Back to NY View Post
    what a fool christie is...history has shown metro-commuter railways and/or subways are always a profitable venutre and are never in need of taxpayer bailouts...
    I lol'd - for several minutes.

    They can probably pick up where they left off once the economy gets better, and all of the dumass mistakes of the last 2 years are reversed/repealed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    I have heard but cannot find a link saying the current tunnels are at 96% capacity



    www.app.com
    What team of geniuses decided this project would add 70,000 daily riders?

    Was this assessment made by an independent transportation engineer?

    Or was it made by a group of people who had something to gain by promoting this project?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauliec View Post
    What team of geniuses decided this project would add 70,000 daily riders?
    All those stories about NY losing jobs? REPUBLICAN SCARE TACTICS!!! We need to ship those Jersey people to NYC asap!

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