Christie Spoke to Trump About Need for Rail Tunnel to Manhattan

As rail woes persist Christie mum on tunnel project he axed

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Recent train disruptions in NY have focused attention on a rail tunnel project shut down by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2010 that would've been nearing completion now.

A bipartisan chorus of elected officials from New Jersey has been urging President Trump to commit federal funds for the Gateway tunnel, which would double train capacity under the Hudson River and provide some relief for commuters who have been frequently delayed this year or unable to catch any trains for long stretches due to service interruptions. At a news conference Wednesday, Christie, Senator Cory Booker and other state lawmakers discussed the importance of committing to upgrading transportation infrastructure of the busy Northeast Corridor.

The ARC tunnel would be nearing completion if Christie hadn't pulled the plug on it over concerns New Jersey taxpayers would be responsible for cost overruns he estimated at several billion dollars.

When another reporter asked Christie about taking the case for Gateway directly to President Donald Trump - who is a friend - Christie said he had.

Some of New Jersey's top leaders are calling on the federal government to help rectify recent problems with the state's transit infrastructure.

"The invitation to the new secretary of transportation is an invitation of urgency", Booker said. Amtrak, which is the lead agency on the project in partnership with New Jersey and NY, says it now has $300 million in the project.

"The president's well aware of my point of view on this project and I absolutely will continue to speak my mind on this both publicly and privately", Christie said.

If it had not been cancelled, the ARC Tunnel could have been completed as early as 2018. The governor is a frequent presence on the airwaves, on everything from sports talk radio to the long-running "Ask the Governor" show.

"We're teetering every single day on the brink of truly a traffic Armageddon", Booker said. "And I hate that I have to revisit that all the time". In addition to replacing the wonky rail tunnels which were damaged by floodwaters during 2012's Superstorm Sandy, the Gateway project also calls for the replacement of the Portal Bridge, a century-old river-crossing near Secaucus Junction that serves as a chokepoint for trains heading in and out of Manhattan.

Booker, a Democrat, has a history of working with Christie that goes back to the governor's first months in office in 2010.

"We think that this is more hypocrisy", Mejia said after the news conference ended.



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