Despite lauding the announcement of the Gateway Tunnel last week (and taking credit for the proposal), NJ Governor Chris Christie continues to criticize federal infrastructure spending. As I reported last week, Chris Christie has criticized Obama’s proposed investments in HSR and high-speed internet access as “candy.”
According to TransportationNation, Christie has repeated his “candy” message. During a talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, Christie said:
“[Obama] says the big things are high speed rail. The big things are high speed internet access for almost 80 percent of American or something by some date. A million electric cars on the road by some date. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the candy of American politics, those are not the big things, because let me guarantee you something if we don’t fix the real big things there’s going to be no electric cars on the road.”
For a video of Christie’s remarks, visit TransportationNation.
Christie’s remarks reveal his two faces toward infrastructure. In his cancelation of the ARC Tunnel, Christie praised the idea of the trans-hudson tunnel; it was the cost-overruns that he claimed were the problem. And in November, Christie said he liked the idea of the 7-Train extension to Secaucus. And yet, now, projects like High Speed Rail are deemed by Christie to be categorically a bad idea.
Christie’s double-talk may reflect a split between his local and national audiences. While Christe’s criticism of high-speed rail may be received warmly in other parts of the country, the Northeast currently faces significant infrastructure constraints. Meanwhile, countries like China and Brazil continue to invest in infrastructure to support their long-term growth. Christie must know that infrastructure expansion in the Northeast is not “candy,” it is essential for continued economic success.