TRENTON-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put the final nail in theARC Tunnel coffin today, with his announcement that the projectwould be terminated. The tunnel, which was to double rail capacitybetween New Jersey and New York City, was America’s largest publicworks initiative.

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The ARC Tunnel project was originally estimated to cost $8.7billion, with the federal government and the Port Authority of NewYork and New Jersey each pitching in $3 billion toward the total.New Jersey would have been responsible for the remaining $2.7billion and any cost overruns, which could range from $1.1 billionto $5.3 billion, depending on who is providing the data.

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The governor first canceledthe project on October 7, but he gave it a two-weekgrace period after US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visitedTrenton the next day to ask for more time to offer alternatives.That deadline expired Friday, but Christie has pondered thedecision an additional five days.

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Tunnel proponents have accused the governor of scrapping a planvital to New Jersey’s economic future, while opponents have saidthe project lacked connectivity to New York Penn Station and thejobs on Manhattan’s East Side.

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The cancellation of the project could allow New Jersey to usesome of the $2.7 billion allocated toward the tunnel to bolster thestate’s nearly broke Transportation Trust Fund, which manyDemocrats argue could be replenished by implementing a gas taxincrease rather than scrapping infrastructure improvements.

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