Christie Rewrites ARC History: My Wife Made Me Do It

Did NJ First Lady Mary Pat Christie kill the ARC tunnel? Or was it (still) that her husband wouldn't raise the gas tax? Photo: State of NJ.

Did NJ First Lady Mary Pat Christie kill the ARC tunnel? Or was the problem just that her husband wouldn't raise the gas tax. Photo: State of NJ.

Having killed the badly-needed ARC tunnel not once but twice, you’d think that Governor Chris Christie would at least have the decency to let the issue go. But no. He’s got a whole new reason for opposing it. Now, apparently, the seed of the ARC’s destruction came from Christie’s wife Mary Pat, who was no fan of the deep-underground Midtown terminal.

“The lobbying to me on this one was from [the first lady],” Christie said. “She’s, like, ‘So this thing’s going 10 stories under Macy’s, [and] then I gotta go back up and I gotta walk over to Penn Station. I get on a subway. . .’”

The story is a new one for Christie, but then, he probably needs one. While deliberating on ARC’s fate earlier this fall, Christie’s argument was always that the state couldn’t afford any cost overruns. But the Tri-State Transportation Campaign caught Christie signing off on billions in borrowing for two highway widenings that had tripled in price over just five years. And Sen. Frank Lautenberg revealed that the feds had offered to add more funds and set up a public-private partnership that would bear the burden of cost overruns.

Compared to the canard of fiscal responsibility, I suppose the new argument looks pretty good.