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New Jersey Governor Decides To Kill New New Jersey-To-Manhattan Rail Tunnel

"It's Official," WNYC, NPR's member station in New York City, declares, the "ARC Tunnel Project Is Dead."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has cancelled plans for a new rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan's Penn Station. The tunnel was supposed to more than double the number of commuter trains that could come into New York City and relieve many of the delays that passengers experience every morning.

According to The Associated Press, "more than a half-billion dollars has been spent on the tunnel so far and construction began last year. The largest federal transportation project in the country, it was expected to double train traffic in and out of New York City during peak commute times once completed in 2018."

Last month, Christie put a temporary hold on the project, to allow the ARC Executive Steering Committee to review its financials.  The group came to this conclusion:

The Committee fully recognizes the value and benefit that a cross Hudson transportation improvement would bring to New Jersey's transportation system and that of the entire region. The Committee also understands that this action may result in the loss of $3 billion in discretionary federal New Starts money. Nonetheless, it is the judgment of the Committee that in the current economic climate, New Jersey and its project partners cannot afford this project and recommend its immediate and orderly shutdown.

In a statement, Christie said this:

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 crisis our State is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for 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.

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David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.
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