A Bloomberg article portrays New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a big meanie because he won’t take Billions in federal spending (a.k.a. PORK).
The first-term Republican this month halted the nation’s largest mass-transit project, a tunnel under the Hudson River, saying residents couldn’t afford overruns on its $8.7 billion cost, even with the federal government pitching in $3 billion..
Christie’s assertion is two-fold. First he makes the case that even with U.S. taxpayer funding, New Jersey would have to shoulder the remaining $5.7 Billion. Secondly is that when (not if) the government project goes over budget, New Jersey can’t afford to pay for that either.
Christie told reporters Oct. 18 he was content to walk away from the tunnel unless someone else agrees to pay for cost overruns. He said today he hasn’t reversed his decision.
“I don’t care how much people want a tunnel to New York, we don’t have the money for that,” Christie said at a town-hall meeting in Scotch Plains. “Here’s the promise I will make, I’m not going to stick you with that bill.”
Cost overruns on massive road projects are a regular occurrence. The 15 year-long $14.6 Billion “Big Dig” is a great example.
After spending $14.6 billion (up from an initial forecast of about $4 billion in today’s dollars), leaders and taxpayers weren’t in the mood to shell out an several hundred thousand dollars for the show.
So Governor Christie wants to protect New Jersey tax payers from a project that will likely overrun it’s projected $8.7 Billion by several times when the State doesn’t even have the money to pay for the project if it meets its projections.
The Bloomberg piece goes on to explain the real problem the authors have with the Governor.
“How many times will the people of New Jersey lose out on federal money so that our governor can score political points?” Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono, a Metuchen Democrat, said.
“Lose out on federal money..”. Constantly spending money that came from a printing press is not sustainable. Governor Christie realizes that the State can’t afford the project, can’t take a 4th annual State budget deficit, and that taking the money will just make New Jersey more dependent upon the scraps from D.C. The more dependent the State’s funding is on the federal government, the more influence the federal government has in State politics. It is a back-door play to minimizing State’s rights and Democrats like Barbara Buono are shooting for exactly that. Governor Christie gets it.