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N.J. gets bill for scrapped tunnel

By The Associated Press and Staff Reports

NJ Transit owes the federal government $271 million for the Hudson River rail tunnel that Gov. Chris Christie scrapped last month.

The Federal Transit Administration on Monday sent the railroad the bill, saying interest and penalty charges will be added.

The Record newspaper reported the FTA also said it would launch a "complete audit" of the project to determine how much federal funds still have not been spent.

The $8.7 billion project to construct a rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York was 15 years in the making when Christie pulled the plug, citing cost overruns. The state's share of the project was estimated at more than $2.7 billion. The federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were each contributing $3 billion.

Officials aren't saying where NJ Transit will get the money to pay the bill.

An Amtrak official told the Asbury Park Press earlier this week that the passenger rail system has been discussing a deal with New Jersey Transit to work on the tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City. Amtrak Vice President Al Engel said the agency is looking into using the tunnel for high-speed rail.

The Northeast Corridor has grown increasingly congested for train traffic, and 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, Amtrak has said.

By The Associated Press and Staff Reports  | November 9, 2010; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Transportation News  
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