Angry Christie should be impeached for this:
"The governor subsequently steered $4 billion earmarked for the tunnel to the state's near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax. "
"The report is likely to revive criticism that his decision, which he said was about "hard choices" in tough economic times, was more about avoiding the need to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which would have violated a campaign promise."
They should impeach him; there's no bigger transportation project as important in this country as the one Christie torpedoed.
Paul Krugman seems to agree, as his column today (4/13/12) lays out:
Mr. Christie insisted that his state couldn't afford the cost. As we've already seen, however, he apparently couldn't make that case without being dishonest about the numbers. So what was his real motive?
One answer is that the governor is widely assumed to have national ambitions, and the Republican base hates government spending in general (unless it's on weapons). And it hates public transportation in particular. Indeed, three other Republican governors -- in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin -- have also canceled public transportation projects supported by federal funds. The difference, of course, is that New Jersey is a densely populated state, most of whose residents live either in Greater New York or Greater Philadelphia; given that position, public transit is the state’s lifeblood, and refusing to invest in such transportation will strangle the state's economy.
Another answer is that canceling the tunnel allowed Mr. Christie to divert funds from that project -- as his critics have said, to cannibalize the investment -- and put them into the state highway fund, thereby avoiding the need to raise the state's tax on gasoline. New Jersey gas taxes, by the way, are lower in real terms than at any point in the state's history. But, as a candidate, Mr. Christie said that he wouldn't raise those taxes, so cannibalizing the tunnel helped him avoid embarrassment.
The crucial point about both of these explanations is that they stand Mr. Christie's narrative about himself on its head. The governor poses as a man willing to make hard choices for the future, but what he actually did was sacrifice the future for the sake of personal political advantage. He catered to national Republican prejudices that are completely at odds with New Jersey's needs; he cared more about avoiding embarrassment over a misguided campaign pledge than about serving an urgent public need.
Unfortunately, Mr. Christie's behavior is all too typical these days.
America used to be a country that thought big about the future. Major public projects, from the Erie Canal to the interstate highway system, used to be a well-understood component of our national greatness. Nowadays, however, the only big projects politicians are willing to undertake -- with expense no object -- seem to be wars. Funny how that works.
The thing is, because so much of our transportation future is at stake, its just not that funny that the voters of New Jersey picked Christie in the first place. All of our future generations are going to suffer for it.
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