Despite the fact that neither New Jersey nor the Feds have released an audited update of the ARC Tunnel cost overuns, Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Garden State Democrat, is trying to secure a private partnership to help get the tunnel back on track. As Bloomberg News reported, Lautenberg says he has reached to a “major New York City-based finance firm” in an effort save the ARC Tunnel. Lautenberg has also asked the feds to throw in more money for this vital rail infrastructure upgrade and has asked Port Authority to contribute more as well.
Meanwhile, New York’s own governor has finally broken his silence on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to scrape the ARC Tunnel. “I just cannot be critical of the governor of New Jersey if he can save nearly $3 billion that New Jersey would be putting into that one program and use it for other issues statewide. I cannot quarrel with his decision,” he said during a WOR-AM radio spot yesterday. Casting a skeptical eye on Lautenberg’s financing ideas, David Paterson said he believed that the costs are “too great for private financing.” If private investors couldn’t, he reasoned, save St. Vincent’s hospital, how can they fund a tunnel that could need between $2-$5 billion more than expected?
New York State, of course, stands to benefit from the ARC Tunnel but, outside of money giving through Port Authority, has yet to make a significant contribution to this project. The outgoing governor, though, said the Empire State could not lend a hand. “There’s going to have to be redress because the one thing that can save overcrowding right now is expansion of the railways,” he said. “If I had the resources to do it, I would say it would be valuable enough to invest in this project.”