Nixing tunnel helped Christie, but hurt the East Coast

When Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey canceled a long-planned train tunnel under the Hudson River, he established himself as a hero of the conservative movement — a politician capable of saying “no” to a big spending project. Never mind that the tunnel was a significant piece of infrastructure, with implications for the entire Eastern seaboard — for Bostonians hoping for easier rail links to Washington, and for an aviation system hampered by air-traffic clogs around New York. Christie said he was putting New Jersey first.

For a while, his effort to avoid a Big Dig-like burden on New Jersey seemed, at least, justified in light of the experiences of Massachusetts. But now, as Christie’s name appears prominently on lists of possible running mates for Mitt Romney, it’s become clear that he exaggerated the facts when making the showcase gesture that put him on the political map.

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