Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:54 AM
ProSense (116,464 posts)
Krugman: Cannibalize the Future
Cannibalize the Future
By PAUL KRUGMAN
One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain. You can see that principle at work in the House Republican budget, which starts with dire warnings about the evils of deficits, then calls for tax cuts that would make the deficit even bigger, offset only by the claim to have a secret plan to make up for the revenue losses somehow or other.
And you can see it in the actions of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who talks loudly about acting responsibly but may actually be the least responsible governor the state has ever had.
Mr. Christie’s big move — the one that will define his record — was his unilateral decision back in 2010 to cancel work that was already under way on a new rail tunnel linking New Jersey with New York. At the time, Mr. Christie claimed that he was just being fiscally responsible, while critics said that he had canceled the project just so he could raid it for funds.
Now the independent Government Accountability Office has weighed in with a report on the controversy, and it confirms everything the critics were saying.
Much press coverage of the new report focuses, understandably, on the evidence that Mr. Christie made false statements about the tunnel’s financing and cost...But while it’s important to document Mr. Christie’s mendacity, it’s even more important to understand the utter folly of his decision. The new report drives home just how necessary, and very much overdue, the tunnel project was and is. Demand for public transit is rising across America, reflecting both population growth and shifting preferences in an era of high gas prices. Yet New Jersey is linked to New York by just two single-track tunnels built a century ago — tunnels that run at 100 percent of capacity during peak hours. How could this situation not call for new investment?
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Gov. Christie and the Tunnel Project
If you find yourself in a stopped train in a Hudson River tunnel, or in a vehicle on a choked highway, in coming years, at least you will know why. In his drive to become the darling of the cut-costs-at-all-costs Republican crowd, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey ignored real economic analysis and relied on exaggerated worst-case scenarios to kill the largest public transit project in the nation in 2010.
The project, two new rail passages under the Hudson River, would have vastly improved the region’s economy, the environment and the lives of millions of commuters. The federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were providing most of the $10 billion needed to build the tunnels. But Mr. Christie said they were going to cost a lot more than that and that New Jersey would be on “a never-ending hook.”
Now, a report from the Government Accountability Office makes it clear that the cost-cutting talk was political bluster. Mr. Christie estimated that the project could cost more than $14 billion, of which New Jersey would have had to pay 70 percent if you counted federal stimulus dollars and Port Authority money. The report said later federal estimates ranged from $9.8 billion to $12.4 billion and that the state’s real share was 14.4 percent. The benefits would have been huge. Today, traffic moves under the Hudson River through two 100-year-old tunnels that are nearly at capacity at peak travel times. With projections that transit demands in this area will increase 38 percent by 2030, the new tunnels would have allowed twice as many trains during rush hour, 48 per hour instead of 23.
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Krugman: Cannibalize the Future (Original post)
Response to ProSense (Original post)
Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:36 AM
edhopper (15,335 posts)
2. And yet the idiot voters of NJ
will in all probability re-elect this asshole.
Gov. Chris Christie is more popular than ever, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.
The poll, conducted from April 3 to 9, found 59 percent of voters approve of the governor’s performance in office, while 36 percent disapprove.
Response to ProSense (Original post)
Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:08 AM
DCKit (18,541 posts)
4. Imagine how much the tax base of NJ would have increased...
had they finished the project - the tens of thousands of NYC workers who may have moved to NJ, knowing they could get to work in Manhattan easily and on time, each and every day. All those income taxes, and the rising property values would have been of huge benefit to the state.
Republicans aren't big on impulse control when they see a big, fat pie sitting on the window sill.