Report: Christie blinks

After meeting in Trenton this afternoon with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Gov. Chris Christie agreed to take a second look at the ARC tunnel, according to the Star-Ledger.

In a statement, LaHood said, “Governor Christie and I had a good discussion this afternoon, during which I presented a number of options for continuing the ARC tunnel project. We agreed to put together a small working group from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the office of NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein that will review.”

Christie issued a statement.

“The fact that the ARC project is not financially viable and is expected to dramatically exceed its current budget remains unchanged. However, this afternoon Secretary LaHood presented several options to potentially salvage a trans Hudson tunnel project. At the Secretary’s request, I’ve agreed to have Executive Director of NJ Transit Jim Weinstein and members from his team work with U.S. Department of Transportation staff to study those options over the next two weeks.” 

The governor’s reversal occurred after U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) leaned on the transportaton secretary to get to the governor’s office.

Pronto.

“Gov. Christie needs to put politics aside and work on behalf of New Jersey commuters to get this project back on track,” the senator said in a statement.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) got in a hard dig on the governor.

“With all else that must be on his plate, the Secretary should not have had to make this emergency trip,” Sweeney said. “The Governor should have sought Secretary LaHood’s input prior to his calling a press conference yesterday. Given the Governor’s past criticism of the Obama administration for not having picked up a phone, it’s unfortunate he didn’t do it, either.”

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/hudson_river_tunnel_project_ma.html 

Report: Christie blinks