The Hudson River tunnel expansion has again been nixed by Governor Christie. Fearing another “Big Dig” debacle, he says the project is over-budget with cost overruns projected between $2.3 billion and $5.3 billion above the $8.7 billion estimate. Simply put, the project lacks financial resources. The tunnel has received $3 billion in commitments from the federal government, $3 billion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a further $2.7 billion from New Jersey.
Cost overruns in infrastructure projects are common. As Christie succinctly notes, “jobs created” doesn’t mean much when there isn’t any money to meet payroll. That’s why asking a federal government awash in debt to pony up more funds isn’t the way to go. If the tunnel is a good idea, New Jersey and New York might consider the approach developed here by economist Steve Hanke to finance improvements to their shared infrastructure. Market Urbanism argues New Jersey’s real commuter problem is its underdeveloped cities. And The TransportPolitic offers another way around transit overcrowding.