New funding could save rail tunnel
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he'll consider restarting a stalled New Jersey-New York rail tunnel if someone else helps pick up the tab.
Otherwise, the Republican governor says he's comfortable walking away from the $9 billion project.
Christie's transit team has until Friday to identify financial options that could keep construction on track.
Christie declined to specify what type of financial arrangement he's looking for.He killed the country's largest public works project because of anticipated cost overruns. But he agreed to reconsider at U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's urging. The federal government is kicking in $3 billion for the project. New Jersey's share is $2.7 billion plus overruns.
Construction on the project began last year and was scheduled to be completed in 2018. It was expected to double train traffic in and out of New York City during peak commute times.
Plans had been in the works for 20 years, but the cost for the tunnel has nearly doubled since a 2005 estimate of $5 billion. In recent months, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff put the price tag between $9 billion and $10 billion.
The Northeast Corridor has grown increasingly congested for train traffic. Amtrak has been studying whether there was a need for yet another tunnel between New Jersey and New York City -- in addition to the project that Christie stopped. Rail ridership between Washington and Boston is expected to double by 2030.
This summer Maryland and 10 other states asked federal railroad officials to develop a plan to upgrade high-speed passenger rail service along the Northeast Corridor over the next four decades.
-- Associated Press
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