11.1.10 Dancing in The ARC
I don’t think that Gov. Chris Christie likes money. More specifically, he dislikes federal money – even more than he dislikes public school teachers. Maybe he got a bad grade in high school economics.
First he blew our chance at $400 million in federal education dollars because he didn’t like coopertating with the NJEA. Now he’s turning down $3 billion from Washington and cancelling the largest public works project in the country – a second commuter rail tunnel to Manhattan.
The feds were in for $3 billion. So was the Port Authority. New Jersey had a share of $2.7 billion, but Christie didn’t want to be on the hook for more. So, no tunnel. No construction jobs. Worse commutes. There would be no joy in Mudville Township.
Was it going to be teachers taking all of those trains into the city? Actually, no. It would be a lot of these Wall Street types. You’ve probably seen them. Nice suits. Blackberries and briefcases. They make a lot of money and they live in New Jersey.
It’s actually the second time Christie turned the money down. He tried once, but then Ray LaHood – a former Republican congressman and now the U.S. Transportation Secretary – made a trip up to Trenton to try to change Christie’s mind.
So Christie spent a lot of time thinking about what LaHood said in between the many fundraising events he went to throughout the country. But while going to board one of many recent flights at an airport built with public funds, it was probably then that Christie came to the conclusion that interestate travel was the real culprit for New Jersey’s economic woes.
“If New Jerseyans keep going to New York City for high-paying jobs, then they’ll be paying higher taxes,” Christie said. “Our residents should be working in lower paying jobs in New Jersey, and with lower salaries, that means less taxes.”
Following this line of logic, Christie is putting together a panel to see if cutting off some of the other tunnels and bridges to New York, and perhaps also Pennsylvania, would help our state’s economy.
“Every time a New Jersey driver goes into another state, he pays a toll,” Christie said. “If there were fewer bridges and tunnels, there would be fewer tolls, and that means more money in his wallet.”
So there you have it. The Christie Plan: lower taxes and lower tolls by cutting down on job opportunities and means of travel.
I suppose that with all of the extra time that New Jerseyans will be spending in our state that they’ll have more time to see what’s actually happening in Trenton.
We can only hope so.