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Governor Christie Dismisses Rail Tunnel Criticism [AUDIO]

Jersey democrats continue to criticize Governor Christie, after the Congressional Government Accountability Office issued a report suggesting he may have miscalculated how much the Garden state would have to shell out for a new Hudson River rail tunnel.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

Christie – who scrapped the proposed new tunnel two years ago – says this is nothing more than a bunch of partisan poppycock.

He says “if you read the report, what it will tell you is, that the Federal government had 3 different estimates in 5 months on the cost of this project – what it will tell you is they didn’t include the cost of the Portal bridge – which was an additional 775 million dollars – that was a prerequisite to doing the ARC tunnel — I know it was a prerequisite because the Secretary of Transportation looked me in the eye and said – in February of 2010- unless you’re going to pay for the Portal Bridge, we’re not signing the agreement with you.”

He says the Port Authority was going to pay for a significant part of the tunnel project- but they were getting a lot of that money from New Jersey commuters -“so every dollar that we spent on cost over-runs either from the state of New Jersey or if you did it from the Port Authority – would come out of other Port Authority money that would go to other New Jersey projects – that costs New Jersey…I don’t think anybody from New Jersey needs advice from Congress about how to spend money – we see what a mess they’re in down there.”

Christie adds “the people of New Jersey are comfortable with the fact that I made the evaluation that we couldn’t afford this…the implication that somehow I should have let this project go forward and left it till later cause they would have worked something out with us on the cost over-runs- that’s akin to like, I’m here from Washington and I’m here to help -I’m not going to put New Jersey taxpayers at that risk.”

He says “If you read the report, they do not once say that we exaggerated the numbers – they don’t once give an opinion on which numbers were right…they had no idea what this project was going to cost- and that’s what I was saying -we had no way of knowing how much this was going to cost- but the one thing the GAO report does confirm – New Jersey was on the hook for every dollar of the cost overruns -even though the door was left open that the Federal Government might have helped with that at the end – yeah, you know, that’s like – I’d be happy to pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today – sorry – I’m not going to let the New Jersey taxpayers be exposed in that way.”

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