TRENTON, N.J. — The Federal Transit Administration has determined that New Jersey must repay the federal government the entire $271 million it spent on early design and construction work for a New Jersey-New York train tunnel that Governor Chris Christie later scrapped.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the final decision yesterday in a letter to New Jersey’s congressional delegation and in a 52-page report sent to the Christie administration from the FTA’s Budget and Policy office.
Christie, a Republican who has gained national attention for his budget-cutting ways, abandoned the project last fall over what he said were escalating costs. He cited potential overruns of $2 billion to $5 billion, which he said the state couldn’t afford. He then hired a high-powered Washington law firm to fight the debt the federal government said was owed for work already completed.