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Mr. West, a former Army officer, said in an interview he’s eager to steer the group away from “failing liberal social-welfare policies that have caused the demise of the black community.”


Administration seeks refund on tunnel

The Obama administration wants prompt repayment of more than $270 million in federal grant money dedicated to New Jersey for a rail tunnel to Manhattan that became a political flash point when the state withdrew from the project.

In a letter sent this week to New Jersey Transit Executive Director James Weinstein, the Federal Transit Administration said the state “must immediately repay all the federal assistance” spent so far on the project canceled by Gov. Chris Christie owing to costs.

This includes $271 million, plus interest and penalties, that already had been sent to the state. In addition, FTA is canceling nearly $80 million in funds that were scheduled to be delivered.

The tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan became a charged symbol during the just-completed congressional elections of Democratic efforts to stimulate the economy and Republican aims to cut spending.

Mr. Christie said in October that New Jersey could not proceed with the $8.7 billion project owing to billions in projected cost overruns that would be borne by the state.


LaHood nixes funding reallocation request

The Obama administration is turning down a request by the newly elected Republican governor in Ohio to use $400 million awarded to the state under the federal high-speed train program for road-building and other projects.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a letter to Gov.-elect John R. Kasich that the Ohio train project - which would create regular-speed passenger service between Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus - would be good for the state and national economy.

Mr. Kasich has promised to cancel the project, which he says the state can’t afford. He sent a letter to Mr. Obama asking to use the money for roads and freight lines.

Mr. LaHood said the money can only be used for the train project.


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