If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie one day enters the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he’s going to have to write some big checks.
None are likely to be as big as the nearly $100 million the governor’s state agreed to pay today over a stalled $3 billion tunnel project that was supposed to link northern New Jersey to Manhattan. The project, called the “ARC” tunnel, was the largest transit project in history, according to the Department of Transportation.
In a press release issued today, the DOT announced that it had signed an agreement with Christie to recoup $95 million of the $271 million federal dollars that have been committed to the project.
“The $95 million settlement will permit DOT to recover all of the $51 million in New Starts money provided to New Jersey for the ARC project, so that those funds can be made available to other communities for public transit projects,” said the DOT.
Additionally, the agreement struck between New Jersey and the Feds requires the state to spend another $128 million on transit projects.
A Department of Transportation official praised the efforts of New Jersey’s two Democratic senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, in helping broker a deal.
“Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez deserve the lion’s share of the credit for helping to broker a solution that will ensure New Jersey taxpayers have to pay back a much smaller amount than what Gov. Christie owes and that the state must now proceed with other transit projects that benefit residents,” said this official.
Christie released a statement praising the deal, saying it won’t cost New Jersey residents any money out of their pockets.
“I am pleased to announce that we have negotiated a good-faith settlement with the Federal Transportation Administration that puts the interests of New Jersey taxpayers first by substantially reducing the federal government’s original demand,” said Christie.
As for the tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan, for now there’s just a hole in the ground.