When Governor Christie halted forward momentum on the ARC tunnel he expressed concerns about possible cost overruns. But there might have been something more going on here.
Democrats are speculating that Christie wants to use New Jersey’s $2.7 billion in ( supposedly ) committed ARC tunnel funding to instead shore up the Transportation Trust Fund. Christie has said that he will come up with a plan for TTF soon. And since we know it won’t involve raising taxes, and there is no magic pot of money hidden underneath the State House near Petty’s Run, this would be a logical fit.
In essence, the money could be redirected to the TTF. When reporters put this theory to Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson in the hallway of the State House Annex Thursday he said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Hmmmm. Do you think he knows?
Well,$1.25 billion of New Jersey’s ARC funding comes from the 2008 toll increases and is therefore under the control of the Turnpike Authority. Without having to go through the legislature, Christie could presumably redirect that money to the TTF. He wouldn’t even have to go through his old pal JBOC ( that’s an inside joke ). However, some of the money also comes from other sources, and the path to usefulness for those dollars is less certain. A good portion of those ( supposedly committed to ARC ) other dollars are from the federal gas tax. And that means Christie might also be able to redirect them without Democrats being able to do much of anything.
When Administrations change, so do priorities.
Programming Note: I wanted nothing more than to see Raiders of the Lost Arc when it came out almost 30 years ago. However, my parents were troubled by the scariness/violence ( since i was young ), particularly the ending scene where the Nazi faces melt off. However, A recent viewing of that film through modern eyes reveals that the questionable scene is not really “scary,” but laugh-out-loud funny with how fake it looks.