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NJ governor: State won't repay US for tunnel work

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GEOFF MULVIHILL | January 25, 2011 10:28 PM EST | AP

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TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that New Jersey will continue its fight to avoid repaying the federal government $271 million spent on the Hudson River rail tunnel project that he canceled in October.

The deadline for the state to repay the money or file a formal appeal was Tuesday night.

Christie said on an appearance on West Trenton news radio station 101.5 that the state does not intend to pay.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said the administration would have more details Wednesday on an appeal.

The $8.7 billion project was the most expensive public works project in the country when Christie spiked it. It would have doubled the capacity for trains traveling between New York City and New Jersey, routes that are now close to capacity and frequently delayed.

Federal authorities say New Jersey owes it for engineering and construction work done on the tunnel before Christie canceled the project. They say $128 million would be credited back to the state to ease traffic jams once the state pays in full.

When Christie canceled the project he said that New Jersey was going to have to foot too much of the bill, including potential cost overruns of between $2 billion and $5 billion.