New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pushing a plan to offer Amazon $5 billion of taxpayer subsidies — a number that may ring a bell for many New Jersey residents: It’s the same figure Christie said state taxpayers could not afford to shell out for a desperately needed tunnel under the Hudson River.

When Christie took office in 2010, his first headline-grabbing move was his decision to cancel the long-planned New York-New Jersey tunnel project, known as “Access to the Region’s Core.”

“The potential for $2-5 billion cost overruns was something that was unacceptable for me to contemplate,” Christie declared in cancelling the project.

Fast forward eight years, and Christie’s last move as governor is his effort to pass legislation authorizing up to $5 billion in tax credits to Amazon, should it choose to move its headquarters to the state. Those tax credits are in addition to the $7.9 billion of taxpayer subsidies his administration has already authroized, according to government data analyzed by the New Jersey Policy Project. In all, if the Amazon credits are utilized, Christie’s administration will have authorized a record-setting total of nearly $13 billion of taxpayer subsidies to corporations.

After the tunnel project was terminated, a 2012 General Accountability Office report challenged some of Christie’s budgetary justifications for cancelling it. At the same time, Christie’s administration began directing major taxpayer subsidies to companies linked to top Republican donors.

In recent weeks, Christie has committed New Jersey to helping fund a tunnel — but it is now unclear whether the federal government under President Trump will support the project. 

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