End of the ARC Tunnel?

The existing two-track rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and NYC is at capacity.

Multiple news sources have reported that NJ Governor Chris Christie will either cancel or indefinitely delay the Access to the Region’s Core rail tunnel between New Jersey and NYC. If true, this would be a devastating disinvestment in the state’s future. It would almost certainly set the project back by at least a generation and result in the loss of $3 billion in federal funds.

It’s worth noting that — at least so far — no New Jersey media outlet has reported that the tunnel is dead, and the reports that exist have all relied on anonymous sources. The governor yesterday denied that he has made a decision on the project’s fate, telling a reporter he would meet with state transportation officials today. A mob of press will likely be waiting for Christie at public events (unrelated to ARC) planned for later today.

The Regional Plan Association and others have called on the governor to extend his month-long review of the project for another two months. A project 20 years in the making — which the governor himself has called “critical for the transit riders of New Jersey and the region” — certainly deserves more than 30 days of review.

MTR will have more to say as this story develops.

Photo: Via NJ Transit.

6 Comments on "End of the ARC Tunnel?"

  1. Clark Morris | October 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm |

    The review is worth while only if it includes more than a yes/no set of options. The project as currently designed is not worth the money. The original concept of two more tracks to Penn Station in conjunction with plans to maximize through routing so reversals in Manhattan are avoided is worth the money. A double track line connected to either Metro North or the Long Island designed as a rapid transit type operation with ONLY MUs is worth the money (Munich S-Bahn for example).

  2. Scott Webber | October 7, 2010 at 12:58 am |

    The current ARC plan is a half-fast, short-sighted plan that fails to try address the transportation needs for New York/New Jersey. The current plan leaves riders in an unsafe deep dead-end terminal next to Macy’s basement that makes for an ideal terrorist target given that it is so far underground that it would be impossible for riders to escape. Further, the original goal of ARC was to connect riders to midtown and the east side of Manhattan – the current ARC project will not advance that objective. The ARC plan as it stands now fails to provide operational flexibility for NJT, excludes Amtrak and prohibits through-running of NJ Transit trains to Connecticut and Long Island and the eventual creation of a regional rail management agency that would provide the ideal operational efficiency that the NYC metro area needs for long term objectives. As currently configured, this project is a waste of money. The plan should be amended to create tunnels that connect to Penn Station, and reconfiguring track space so that a second station can be carved out of the Farley Post Office into a Moynihan Station for NJT and Amtrak, and making the current Penn Station into LIRR/Metro North. This is the layout that will enable sufficient track space for all four railways in the region and provide for interconnectivity for everyone in the future. I applaud Governor Christie for taking a step back and reexamining plans – I only hope that in the end, a solution that actually is functional is created for this project.

  3. Applaud Christie for what, so that he can redirect the money to laying of more concrete and congestion? Republicans aren’t fans of passenger railroads they love building roads and supporting the airlines WAKE UP!!!!

  4. Kumel- Train tunnels don’t use concrete?

    I would love to see some graphics refering to possible options raised by Scott.

  5. I support the ARC tunnel concept. However, the current configution to a dead end separate terminal is I feel a grievious error. Planners should return to the original concept of connecting into Penn Station, with the possibility of then going on to the East Side and Grand Central.

    Governor Christie is doing the right thing to put this project on hold so we can all get over our rabid enthusiam and look at the project objectively.

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