(TRENTON) – Assembly Transportation Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Monday after the NJ Transit executive director told the committee the Christie administration may divert money dedicated to the new Hudson River commuter rail tunnel:
“The idea that Gov. Christie and his administration would even consider halting this tunnel project so he could avoid making the tough decision to come up with a transportation funding plan is as inexplicable as it is irresponsible. Yet, that’s exactly what we heard today from NJ Transit’s executive director.
“This is beyond stunning. It is disturbing for commuters and New Jersey’s economic future. It’s also a major national security concern.
“Gov. Christie may be comfortable with risking New Jersey’s economic future and losing $6 billion in federal and Port Authority funding, but taxpayers, commuters and businesses see things differently.
“Gov. Christie can never claim that he wasn’t aware of the costs of building the new Hudson River commuter rail tunnel nor that New Jersey would be responsible for costs. The governor never objected to the terms of this agreement and even restated his commitment to a project his own transportation commissioner described as ‘the most important public transportation project in the country.’
“The tunnel would create 6,000 jobs and take 22,000 cars off our already congested roads daily. It would open New Jersey and its residents to new jobs and expanded economic growth. It’s too valuable to be tossed aside as the governor appears ready to do.
“Real leaders make tough decisions to ensure vital improvement projects get finished. They do not slap excuses together, nor do they risk billions of dollars in federal funding, the quality of life of New Jersey commuters and our state’s economic future.
“The governor needs to show real leadership do move forward with this project as soon as possible. If he fails to do so or diverts this money to other uses, the negative repercussions will reverberate through our economy for generations.”