NJ Governor Cites Dollars, Cents In Killing Tunnel

(AP) TRENTON, N.J. – In the end, it was all about dollars and cents.

That's what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said before permanently scrapping a $9 billion-plus rail tunnel connecting his state and New York City, a decision that cements his reputation as a cost-cutter and comes at the expense of commuters who endure frequent delays.

Christie confirmed Wednesday he is sticking by a decision made earlier this month to kill the nation's biggest public works project because of runaway costs. He rejected a variety of financial proposals offered by the federal government to salvage the tunnel under the Hudson River, saying none fully relieved New Jersey of responsibility for overruns.

"I said to them it's all about money," Christie said Wednesday night during Millennium Radio's "Ask the Governor" program. "I can't have a blank check, so they knew if they came back and said they'd cover all the overages, the project would have gone forward. If the federal government would have ever come forward and said 'we will take the risk of it going over budget and we'll cover it,' I would have had a very different press conference."

The Obama administration persuaded Christie to rethink the decision to pull the plug and two weeks later proposed a variety of options for keeping the tunnel on track. The proposals — all of which were rejected by Christie — included low-interest federal loans, a scaling-back of the project, and the use of public-private partnerships, which other cities have formed for large infrastructure projects.