Transportation Department Commissioner James Simpson said Monday that the “fatal flaw” of the canceled ARC tunnel project probably was the decision not to have the connection to Penn Station.
Responding to questions from Chairman John Wisniewski, (D-19), Middlesex about his time in the federal government as head of the Federal Transit Administration before becoming the state’s Transportation chief, Simpson maintained that the rising expense of the project made its costs outweigh its benefits.
He acknowledged before the committee that had that Penn connection been included, things might have been different.
Wisniewski pressed him about whether he supported ARC as a federal official but not as a state official, but Simpson maintained the costs of capital programs kept growing.
They made sense, he said, “At $8.7 billion, not at $13 billion.’’
Wisniewski pressed Simpson on whether the reliance of the five-year capital program on borrowing was prudent. “So your official policy is to wish for hopeful outcomes,’’ he asked Simpson.
“Of course not,’’ Simpson said. He defended the administration’s approach. “Nobody has come to me with a better plan,’’ he said. “It is a complex plan with a lot of moving parts.’’