Christie defends killing tunnel project, says it 'stunk'

As Amtrak rail problems persist, Governor Chris Christie mum on tunnel project he axed

As Amtrak rail problems persist, Governor Chris Christie mum on tunnel project he axed

In a 10-minute self-defense that detoured at times into attacks on news media in the state, Christie read off statistics of his contributions to NJ Transit over the years and said that numerous criticisms against him have been unfair and untrue.

And since the cancellation, a new Hudson River tunnel plan has been drafted, known as Gateway, which more fairly distributes the costs among federal government and NY and New Jersey "under a deal that I negotiated", Christie said.

In recent weeks, Northeast Corridor commuters have endured two derailments and other delays.

Both Christie and Booker refused to answer any questions about the Arc Tunnel Project at the news conference.

Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic senator and transportation advocate, predicted that Christie's decision would eventually be seen as "one of the biggest public policy blunders in New Jersey history".

"The busiest river crossing in North America has a century-old inadequate infrastructure that is causing havoc within this region", Booker said. It could be the first real test of whether the governor's support for the president will finally bear some fruit for New Jersey. Booker said during the event at Newark Penn Station.

"That's done. That's history", he said.

Christie said Gateway is superior to ARC because it connects to Penn Station (the ARC would have taken commuters to Herald Square), and because the tunnel would be 50 percent funded by the federal government, though the money has not yet been appropriated. It was killed, however, when Gov. Chris Christie withdrew New Jersey's financial commitment to the project.

The $20 billion project rebuilds the portal bridge over the Hackensack River and adds two tunnels under the Hudson, allowing Amtrak to fix the existing tunnels damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and NY serves hundreds of thousands of commuters a week in what Booker called the most economically active river crossing in the world.

As Christie spoke about the importance of new rail tunnels Wednesday, protesters were also on the scene, holding up signs that read "hypocrite", and "resist Trump".

"I don't want to be in a circumstance where I'm withholding payments".

Christie seemed anxious Thursday to wag a finger at the line of questioning from some reporters, saying that "the press in this state isn't happy unless they're bitching".

But yesterday, the protesters who crashed Booker's news conference didn't share his goodwill toward the governor, or the view that the past is the past when it comes to Christie's decisions on infrastructure. Booker, then serving as Newark's mayor, was one of the earliest supporters of Christie's push to establish a new cap on local property tax hikes.

"In the end, I just want them to do their job". Though they formally endorsed each other's opponents, Booker joked during the event that he wanted to show Christie some "guv love" due to their longstanding ability to work together. "He has been at the helm of a bleeding of resources".