TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that he's ready to invest in a rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York, but only if the project is a good deal for New Jersey taxpayers.

Christie, appearing at a transportation summit in Trenton on Wednesday, defended his decision to stop an $8.7 billion tunnel project begun by his predecessor, Gov. Jon S. Corzine. He said the decision has led to New Jersey having better options for a new train tunnel under the Hudson River at less cost to the state.

"We have a better project that I know at some point someone will come to us and ask us to contribute to, and we will stand ready to do that," Christie said. "But we will do that as partners with the federal government and Amtrak, and we will do that, I am certain, only under the condition that New York City and state contribute as well."

Christie halted the project known as Access to the Region's Core, or ARC, after work started because of what he said could be $2 billion to $5 billion in cost overruns. He also squawked at the tunnel's destination — a new underground station two blocks north of New York's Penn Station — and complained that New Jersey was bearing the brunt of costs with no contribution from New York.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the federal government were each kicking in $3 billion, with New Jersey on the hook for $2.7 billion plus overruns.

Christie spoke favorably of two alternate plans, both of which are in the preliminary stages. New York is examining a plan to extend the No. 7 subway line under the Hudson River to the New Jersey Transit station in Secaucus, and Amtrak is exploring building a two-rail tunnel to Penn Station that would be used for both high-speed and local traffic.

"I'm ready to invest in mass transit between New Jersey and New York. I'm just not willing to be fleeced for it," Christie said. "That's what the ARC was, a fleecing."

NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein said his agency is helping explore the feasibility of both alternate tunnel proposals, demonstrating that money spent on the ARC tunnel has not been wasted.

The federal government wants New Jersey to return $271 million already spent on design and environmental work and land acquisition for the abandoned tunnel, but Christie hired a Washington law firm with expertise in transit matters to fight the bill.