“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chris Christie & The NY-NJ Rail Tunnel Cancellation

It's been educational watching reactions of various groups to NJ governor Chris Christie's recent announcement of cancellation of a NY-NJ rail tunnel.

You can read the details elsewhere. Essentially, NY and NJ each put up about $3B to fund their share of a new rail tunnel from Secaucus into midtown Manhattan. The remainder would have been paid by the federal government, except for cost overruns.

Christie pointed to a recent study estimating some truly phenomenal expected cost increases that would have saddled the state with perhaps double its initial expected expense.

Economist Paul Krugman excoriated Christie for his decision. Other liberals piled on, contending that Christie was killing jobs by ending the project.

What is evident from these criticisms is that their primary concern is for jobs at any price. No matter who pays for those jobs, or if the work they do is really the best use of resources.

Could it be that, being construction jobs in a blue state, the fact that these will be Davis-Bacon, union-wage jobs has something to do with so many liberals attacking Christie for his decision?

New Jersey is in terrible financial trouble. Christie is being prudent by avoiding a project bound to experience phenomenal cost overruns, which NJ taxpayers will bear.

Here's a different, but important question about the new tunnel.

Why spend so much money to build another rail tunnel into Manhattan, when, for probably less money, and a different tax structure, some of those jobs or businesses could be lured to NJ. In our current economy, with so many knowledge- and information-related jobs, why are we building rail tunnels under a river, instead of facilitating more telecommuting and internet-accessed jobs which won't require any commuting whatsoever?

For the truly energy-conscious, isn't that the greenest manner of job creation?

As it stands now, liberal Democrats and union officials want Christie to make taxpayers liable for the payrolls of construction workers, no matter if it bankrupts the state. It becomes a simple matter of wealth transfer from NJ residents, through their taxes, to union construction workers.

That's some jobs program, isn't it? The ultimate cost of the project may not make it economically feasible, but, in the meantime, a lot of blue-collar jobs will be created and paid for by the public sector.

That may be the way the federal government does things, owning the nation's monetary printing presses, but it doesn't work at the state level.

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