New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called his cancellation of the Trans-Hudson ARC tunnel project a "dollars and sense issue," as New Jersey couldn't afford the cost of $2.7 billion plus any overruns for the project. But now that he's cancelled it, the Federal Transit Administration is asking for the state to refund the cash they put in. In a letter written to NJ Transit head James Weinstein, the FTA says, “NJT must immediately repay all the Federal financial assistance expended for ARC under the [work agreement] which is currently estimated to be $271.091 million, plus reasonable interest and penalty charges that will be determined by FTA." Who wants to bet on when NJ Transit raises their fares?
The original work agreement stated that New Jersey would be responsible for $2.7 billion and any overruns for the $8.7 billion project. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would pay $3 billion, and the FTA would pay $3 billion from their "New Starts" program, but was entitled to a refund if the project were cancelled. NJ Transit spokesman Paul Wykoff and Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said they did not know where they would find the funds to pay off the FTA.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski criticized Christie for leaving the state with a massive debt. “The governor famously throughout this has said he is not going to spend money the state doesn’t have. I wonder where he is going to get this money. We’re approaching $700 million," he said, referring to the $400 million lost when the state messed up their Race to the Top application. Meanwhile, Amtrak continues to talk about whether "the work already accomplished on the tunnel project could be incorporated into" Amtrak plans for a new trans-Hudson tunnel. But Drewniak said in a statement, "To repeat yet again, the ARC Tunnel project is over."