Though New Jersey's Governor Christie appears to be reconsidering is decision to cancel the planned $8.7 billion tunnel between Manhattan and NJ, his initial opposition to the tunnel reminds us how important elections are.
Tunnel to NJ from Manhattan
The tunnel project is a classic example of how the public sector can improve the environment, improve our quality of life, and boost the economy all at the same time. Only the public sector can make these types of investments, and cancelling such an investment after it has begun wastes resources, undermines the firms that have ramped up their operations to work on the tunnel, and leads to uncertainty about other key public works projects with a New Jersey connection.
Governor Christie has admitted that his planned cancellation would be costly, but he has stated that the $8.7 billion price tag might prove to be as much as $2 billion more than planned. Christie is on solid ground in suggesting that cost overruns and delays might be ahead for the tunnel project. The 2nd Avenue Subway project in Manhattan has experienced maddening levels of delays in the midst of rising costs and economically damaging disruptions of business activities along 2nd Avenue. But, Christie's cancellation creates major costs and produces no benefits.
As Governor Christie reconsiders his decision, I hope that he rethinks the benefits of the tunnel project. For NYC and for NJ, the tunnel will allow for more effective mass transit options, thereby reducing environmental pollution in our region and improving the lives of commuters. The environmental and quality of life improvements will come after the economic benefits of the thousands of jobs that will be created at a time in the economy when job creation is the missing ingredient we seek to right our proverbial ship.
Manhattan's economic, quality of life, and evironmental benefits would be cancelled by the Christie cancellation, and such a move would be shameful and unacceptable..
Let us hope that Governor Christie comes to a better decision with the benefit of time.