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Booker offers suggestions to solve regional transportation woes

Glenn Townes | 9/1/2015, 12:24 p.m.
Sen. Cory Booker recently lauded New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the most underestimated contender for the 2016 presidential run ...
Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker recently lauded New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the most underestimated contender for the 2016 presidential run and offered suggestions on the sorry state of the region's transportation infrastructure.

Booker said Christie should not be dismissed as a viable contender for the commander and chief position.

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Chris Christie

Booker, a Democrat and Christie, a Republican, have enjoyed an unusually amicable professional relationship since Booker served as mayor of Newark between 2006 and 2013. “Chris Christie is one of the most talented political people out there right now,” Booker said last month at a political rally event at the Newark Club. He added, “I am supporting Hillary Clinton to get her elected as president, but don't underestimate Chris Christie.”

For Booker, 46, who has been touted as a possible vice-presidential running mate for the Democratic nominee, said he is focused on other pressing issues facing New Jersey, most notably, the sorry state of the region's transportation infrastructure, which according to Booker, is at or near crisis mode. The issue, specifically the much hyped, yet long delayed Hudson River project, remains a topic that New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Booker and Governor Christie are in general agreement about. However, in 2010, Christie suspended the project citing exorbitant costs and diverted some funds earmarked for the project for other projects related to improving highways across the state. Citizens and politicos contend an updated travel infrastructure needs to be implemented in order to ease the rapidly increasing commuter traffic between New York City and all parts of New Jersey. The project—commonly referred to as the Gateway Project or the ARC (Access to Region's Core) and the Trans Hudson Express plan, is an initiative to build a rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey under the Hudson Bridge. The $14 billion dollar price tag and effort to secure federal funding for the project has snarled movement in the project. “The country and the region should be ashamed of itself for letting the infrastructure deteriorate so badly,” Booker said.