Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey exaggerated when he declared that unforeseen costs to the state were forcing him to cancel the new train tunnel planned to relieve congested routes across the Hudson River, according to a long-awaited report by independent Congressional investigators.
The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released this week, found that while Mr. Christie said that state transportation officials had revised cost estimates for the tunnel to at least $11 billion and potentially more than $14 billion, the range of estimates had in fact remained unchanged in the two years before he announced in 2010 that he was shutting down the project. And state transportation officials, the report says, had said the cost would be no more than $10 billion.
Mr. Christie also misstated New Jersey’s share of the costs: he said the state would pay 70 percent of the project; the report found that New Jersey was paying 14.4 percent. And while the governor said that an agreement with the federal government would require the state to pay all cost overruns, the report found that there was no final agreement, and that the federal government had made several offers to share those costs.
Canceling the tunnel, then the largest public works project in the nation, helped shape Mr. Christie’s profile as a rising Republican star, an enforcer of fiscal discipline in a country drunk on debt. But the report is likely to revive criticism that his decision, which he said was about “hard choices” in tough economic times, was more about avoiding the need to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which would have violated a campaign promise. The governor subsequently steered $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to the state’s near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax.
On Tuesday, in a speech at a conference on taxes and the economy in Manhattan, Mr. Christie did not mention the report, but defended his decision to cancel the project, saying, “I refuse to compromise my principles.”
Clearly, honesty is not one of his principles. Kthug puts this into perspective:
But one thing to emphasize here is that this turns Christie’s whole narrative on its head. He poses as the tough guy willing to make hard choices to secure his state’s future. Instead, he turns out to be a guy willing to eat the state’s seed corn — as one of the critics quoted in the article says, to “cannibalize” a project essential to the state’s future — so as to secure a short-term political advantage.
This fits a broader pattern: in general, the politicians who make the loudest noise about taking care of future generations, taking the long view, etc., are the ones who are in fact most irresponsible about public investments, both in infrastructure and in human issues like child health and nutrition.
also, too, he said that ‘muricans are turning into couch potatoes waiting for their checks. that fat fuck should avoid any sort of framing which highlights his own frame. i saw a pic of him at the wailing wall and i could not believe that they let someone the size a wrecking ball next to that place.
part of me kinda wishes when the locals do this kind of shit on federal projects (especially if it’s related to interstates) that the feds would just say “fine, we’ll do it ourselves, you’ll get no say in how it gets done.”
I vaguely recall, years ago, the state of California telling my home town that if it didn’t get its shit together during an expansion/revamping of Imperial Highway that the state would take over our portion of the work and the locals would have no say. That was fun times.
Mmmmm… seed corn.
Why is it that politicians who are arsonists and set public money on fire just to watch it burn are let off the hook, while mere burglars who pocket what they steal are considered scandalous and criminal?
Conservatives hate trains. Period.
Yeah, well, his lips were moving. QED.
@Inkadu: well of course… because you know who liked trains?
ETA: and of course, who made them run on time?
These maroons think you can run a government for profit, like a private corporation. Downsize for efficiency and better quarterly earning statements. What they don’t understand is government for all the people, not just for stockholders. So you fire a bunch of people off the social safety net, and it’s not like they can just go to a different government to get their basic needs met, they got no where else to go when they can’t find a job in a recession. And if you fire enough of them for the plutocrat cause of a better bottom line, they turn into voting blocks to vote your stingy ass out as CEO of a state, or country.
edit – which isn’t the issue of this thread, but the same mentality exists for maintaining infrastructure. Like some magical entity will build a bridge that needs building.
As long as you understand that Mr. Christie principles are “Fuck New Jersey, I want to be President.”
I remember this. Hopefully, NJ will recollect in 2014.
There’s a bigger issue here that no one’s talking about. When Europe builds new infrastructure, it costs about 1/10 of what it costs to build bridges or tunnels in America — and it takes a ridiculously long time to build basic infrastructure in America, measured in decades, as opposed to a couple of years in China or England.
The main reason Christie cancelled the project is that that the cost of building infrastructure, like the cost of most other basic services like medical care, have exploded completely out of control in America. States can no longer afford to build infrastructure. It costs too much.
And those costs are not inherent: they’re not due to more expensive materials or better building technology or more stringent safety regs. Europe builds infrastructure as good as or better than anything we’ve got, yet it costs Europeans 1/10 as much as it costs us to bulid a road or a bridge or a tunnel.
Once again, the basic problem is uncontrolled greed. It’s destroying America. The greed of doctors, the greed of private contractors, the greed of military contractors, the greed of Wall Street…all part of the same pathology.
Greed is destroying America.
Too bad for Gov Shouty that someone caught him in yet another lie.
While not surprising in the least (anyone who blusters this much is engaging in terminal shiny-object governance) — I can’t wait to see the next set of polls. He’s already pissed off a wide swath of his state and this should accelerate this process nicely.
And good luck with those presidential aspirations, asshole. In general, leaving your state in a mess and with cratering popularity does not, in general, translate into national electoral success. See Mittens is about 7 months…
NJ sure can pick them of late.
John did you just now wake up? This was on the other sites first thing this morning.
Christie sucks. Why do voters vote for sucks?
As I said before, the New York Times is lyin…excuse me, exaggerating to its readers when it writes that Christie “exaggerated when he declared….”. He didnt’ “exaggerate”. He lied, straight up. He said they’d revised the cost estimates when they hadn’t.
How does that work? The feds say “here’s some cash for a tunnel” and the state says “Thx. Imma spend this on something else” and the feds say “wevs” ?
Don’t know if he can win the White House, but I maintain that he’s well positioned to win the Republican nomination. (It’s not like most of that crowd gives a rat’s ass about New Jersey, anyway).
Well, Pawlenty let a bridge fall down on his citizens and never paid a price. Even had the stones to run for pres.
Kathy in St. Louis
The both look as though they wear about a 36 short in a uniform. Suit em up and send em out.
So my federal taxes paid for Christie’s unwillingness to raise the gas tax? Thanks a lot, Governor Shouty McLiar.
Gary Fuckett and the Mindless Gap
As cynical as the posters on the thread have been they still miss one of the real motivations for Christie’s actions were:
He took $4B of stimulus (jobs) out of the economy.
That’s another obstacle for Obama in getting people back to work.
We had a bridge to nowhere flap.
Now a tunnel to somewhere. Too bad Christie didn’t want his fellow New Jerseyites to be able to visit that somewhere under the river…