Democratic insiders are not optimistic that the ARC tunnel will revive itself with today’s injunction from Washington.
It the end, Gov. Chris Christie will make the final call. Having killed the plan once, this reprieve may just be another chance for Christie to rally his base by quashing the spending hog and sticking it to liberals a second time, this time White House liberals.
The major problem, according to some ranking Democratic staffers, is that the project has no constituency.
Towns at the foot of the tunnel will have traffic reduction, but the project isn’t near and dear to any of their hearts.
Straphangers are making no noise over the project, and worst of all for Jersey rail proponents, the unions aren’t behind it.
The big-drill machine operators come from across the Hudson and therefore local laborers will see more jobs from Christie’s proposed cash swap into the Transportation Trust Fund. So you won’t hear a peep from the workmen.
That leaves Dems high and dry looking for a victim of the crime with no blood trail.
So even though Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s intervention allows the tunnel backers to hold out hope over the weekend, praying for an angle to save the $8.7 billion project, they most likely will not.
In the end, Christie will try to make LaHood look silly for the attempt and the governor will reign as Intercontinental Champion of Belt-tighteners.