War of words over scrapped tunnel project

January 18, 2011 2:38:43 PM PST
A war of words has erupted between New York Senator Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Senator Schumer blasted the governor for killing a 9-billion rail tunnel project, which would have expanded the connection between the two states.

The border war began early Tuesday morning at a breakfast speech featuring New York's senior senator.

He unloaded on Governor Christie's decision last fall to kill the Trans-Hudson Passenger Rail Tunnel even though construction was underway.

It would've been a relief to commuters and it was designed to help the region grow.

"I believe pulling the plug on the ARC was a terrible, terrible decision," Sen. Schumer said.

Schumer went on blasting Governor Christie for re-directing Port Authority money to other projects in New Jersey.

He calls Christie's decision extremely short-sighted.

"Historians will look back on this decision to put a stop to the largest transit project in the country as a negative turning point," Schumer said.

Christie killed the ARC project because it was way over-budget. He says between one and five billion.

He struck back hard on Tuesday not just at Schumer, but also at the entire U.S. Senate.

"I'll say what I said about other Senators. Their job is easy. They get to sit in front of microphones and bloviate. I've got to balance budgets," Gov. Christie said.

Chrsitie got even nastier with Schumer when guessing whether the project might ever see the light of day.

"If Senator Schumer would like to tell me where he was going to get the additional $5 billion? If he's got it - since he's such an important guy in the U.S. Senate maybe he's got it himself. If he wants to offer me $5 billion, then maybe we can have a conversation. Until that time, he should mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River," Christie said.

Schumer is urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reject Christie's effort to divert $1.8 billion in funds dedicated to the rail project to repairing roads and bridges instead.