For weeks the ARC tunnel project walked the streets of New Jersey as a zombie, once dead, then resurrected only to be killed again.
As the project hovered between dead and stone dead, Gov. Chris Christie began arguing, inch by inch, that the Port Authority’s $3 billion investment and shared responsibility of cost overruns were equivalent to state money being spent.
However, the state doesn’t fund the Port Authority directly; the authority is self-funded. One-third of their revenue comes from renting space at seaports and airports, and another third is partially funded by New Jerseyans through tolls at the Hudson River crossings. But none of their revenue comes from the state’s coffers.
So on national television when Christie told Meet the Press’s David Gregory on Sunday that $5.7 billion of the $8.7 billion in funding for the ARC tunnel was coming from New Jersey – plus all of the overrun costs – he wasn’t exactly being clear. He has continued to say that the project was to be funded 70 percent by the state and 30 percent by the federal government, following that arithmetic.
Christie spokesperson Kevin Roberts said the governor knows the money doesn’t come directly from the state, but is more interested in where it’s going.
A longstanding policy of “equal spending on either side of the river,” Roberts said, is what Christie is referring to by overstating New Jersey’s contribution to the ARC project.
Roberts said, “$3 billion from Port Authority that’s committed to ARC is $3 billion that’s not being spent on other projects in the state of New Jersey.”