Gov. Christie Officially Cancels Access to Region’s Core Project

[Update: The day after canceling the project, Gov. Christie met with USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood and agreed to a further two-week review of the project and a study of options which could save the tunnel. More on this to come.]

It’s official: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has canceled the Access to the Region’s Core rail tunnel. According to the governor’s statement, the project “will be terminated and staff will immediately begin an expeditious and orderly shutdown of the project.”

Tri-State, the Regional Plan Association, NJPIRG, and Environment New Jersey released the following statement earlier today:

Governor Christie’s cancellation of the ARC tunnel project is a short-sighted move that will stunt New Jersey’s growth for generations to come. With today’s announcement, Governor Christie is single handedly destroying 20 years of NJ Transit’s progress while killing the largest public transit investment in history, all for a one-time infusion of cash.

Cancelling the project will have immediate and long-term consequences.

Not building ARC will increase already gridlocked conditions across the Hudson and place a hard cap on the number of New Jerseyans who can access to the most lucrative job market in the nation. Jobs in New York, which are expected to grow, will instead be filled by residents in Queens and Long Island who are gaining greater access with the East Side Access project.

By reneging on its commitment to the project without a meaningful search for funding solutions, NJ is losing more than just $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money. It’s losing more than 40,000 jobs while unemployment soars. It’s losing mobility when the state is choked with traffic. It’s losing economic development opportunities while municipalities struggle to stay afloat. The only things the state gains from this terrible loss are an extra 66,000 tons of carbon emissions a year from residents who will drive instead of taking the train, and a loud and clear signal that it is business as usual in New Jersey. The Christie administration has joined its predecessors by relying on short-term financial fixes instead of real change.

“The demise of the ARC tunnel cements Governor Christie’s legacy as anti-transit and anti-green jobs,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “He says he is anti-tax, yet raised transit fares by 22%. He has turned his back on his constituents who will remain stuck in traffic at the Hudson River crossing and delayed on NJTransit trains.”

Despite the cost review and call for fiscal responsibility when it comes to ARC, the Christie administration is borrowing another $2 billion for other megaprojects whose budgets have ballooned in recent years: the widenings of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

“Transportation produces the largest portion of New Jersey’s global warming emissions, and by deep-sixing the ARC tunnel, Gov. Christie is turning his back on transit riders and the environment,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, executive director for Environment New Jersey.

“Gov. Christie’s message to commuters today is clear — expect delays. Whether you’re on the rails or on the road, canceling the ARC tunnel will mean more crowded trains, more traffic jams and longer commutes,” said Jen Kim, NJPIRG’s program advocate.

“The decision to cancel ARC is an enormous disappointment,” said Bob Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association. “ARC was desperately needed by the residents of New Jersey who now face limited access to the most lucrative job market in the nation, less reliable commutes and more congested roadways at the Hudson River crossings for the next generation.”

Tom Wright, Executive Director of RPA, said “New Jersey needs ARC. Unless transit capacity under the Hudson River can grow with demand, New Jersey has a hard cap on its economic potential. With the 70,000 additional daily riders who would have used ARC, New Jersey would be more connected to New York City and the expanding global economy, companies and workers would continue locating in the Garden State, home construction would pick up, and the value of homes near transit stations would rise by an estimated $18 billion. All of this has been jeopardized by this decision.”

13 Comments on "Gov. Christie Officially Cancels Access to Region’s Core Project"

  1. One down…one to go….how much will the cost overun’s be for the Moynihan Station. 1 billion….2 billion….3 billion. If they think PA funds are going to be used to expand Penn Station now that the ARC is dead your crazy.

    Christie has single handedly saved the tri-state at least 15 billion dollars by killing ARC and now allowing for a slow death for the Moynihan Station. I say slow death because Cuomo won’t kill it because he serves the elitist groups like the RPA, so it’s death will have to wait another 5 years for an incoming republican Governor. They’ll spend another couple million, but the costs of killing Moynihan Station will not equal the 600 million it cost to kill the ARC.

    No more legacy projects on the taxpayers dime

  2. Anyone know Gov. Christie’s take on the proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel?

  3. I can see it now- No train between Secacus and New York when one or both existing tunnels are unusable for weeks or months. They are over 100 years old and as Amtrak and NJT Transit have said need repairs. At some point one or both will fail– Welcome to HOV-4 or higher and massive 4-5 hours traffic jams at the tunnels and bridges.

    I recall the last New York City Transit Strike- This will be empty roads compared to the chaos a tunnel problem will cause
    This was a very short sighted action that will be felt later. Sure- Grand Central would be nice but what good will Grand Central do when there is no Amtrak or NJ Transit trains to New York.

    Impeach Christie. When will we have to repay the money the feds gave us? How might will our taxes go. At least I am leaving the Dead Garden State at the end of this month.

    A Sad day for New Jersey and rail riders.Remember this when you sit on the Turnpike, Parkway , Skyway, 46,1& 9,80, etc.

  4. Where’s Obama stimulus money where it can really be usful for what’s justificable as a post 911 emergency evacuation route enhancement?

    The failures to reign in the fiscal accountability of government agencies with questionable book-keeping, in favor of such feel goodism as swiping the Westway funds, really can bite!

  5. Jefferson Chase | October 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm |

    The only bad thing about Gov. Christie’s killing of the ARC 34th Street tunnel is that he did it on purely financial grounds. The truth is that the project will deliver almost no rider benefit, completely ignores our NJ-NY commuter rail network’s dangerous terrorist vulnerability, and has a recklesly dangerous station design. If anyone wants the whole truth about the ARC project, and the far better alternative that has been proposed, I will send it to them e-mail or postal. Just write me at jwchase11377@yahoo.com. You have never read the hard truth about the NJT-ARC tunnel, believe me. Jefferson Chase, 40-year NYC mass transit activist, now retired.

  6. Twinkletoes | October 7, 2010 at 8:39 pm |

    Perhaps an alteration in New Jersey’s tax structure might keep some of those jobs in-state so people would not have to commute to NYC. Whatever happened to this new era of telecommuting? Wasn’t that supposed to solve all of our problems? Always amazed at how easily people can spend billions of other peoples’ money. Congratulations NJ for having a governor with the guts to stand up to the powerful union lobbyists who wanted the project to keep them in power. Finally the taxpayer comes out a winner.

  7. Rail Advocate | October 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm |

    While Governor Christie’s decision to pull the plug on the ARC tunnel is diappointing, it provides an opportunity to look at less expensive options that would connect with Penn Station and provide the redundancy and enhancement to intercity passenger rail service that the region truly needs. ARC as proposed by NJT provided little benefit to intercity passenger service and no redundancy for Amtrak during planned or unplanned Hudson River tunnel outages.

    It is also a reminder to New Jersey voters that elections have consequences.

  8. At least a few people have noticed that Gov Christie stopped the building of the train tunnel to Macy’s. An obscenely expensive hole in the ground dead ending way below Macy’s Department Store instead of connecting to Penn, etc. Maybe now someone in NJ can rework the project to go to Penn and maybe find a way to make it cost enough less that Christie could appropriately restart it.

    BTW, if this puts one more nail in the coffin over the Farley sinkhole project that would be a huge bonus! The taxpayer should not be charged so some morons can build an expensive never to be used food court far from where intercity and commuter rail passengers will be.

  9. What can we do? I feel so helpless….so helpless and hopeless…

  10. As a Rhode Islander, it is tempting to say good for Christie, let New Jersey stew in pollution and congestion and hope some Federal funds get transferred to New England where we have hopes for improved corridor service (such as another track in Kingston, RI) expansion of commuter rail service (e.g Boston-South Shore, New Haven-Springfield, Providence – Kingston) that has not generated the poisonous right-wing antanogonistic response to anything that benefits transit riders, the environment etc that seems to be dominating NJ.

  11. I’m so glad the Govenor is sticking it to everyone who voted for him.You nut case’s deserve this.Don’t forget about losing most of your pensions kiss those long waited vacations after retirement gone. Christy came from a rich family ,do you think he’s ever missed a meal.

  12. When will the morons in the NYC metroplex come to the realization that THERE IS NO MONEY? You can’t have everything you want. If you want to work in New Jersey, LIVE in New Jersey. Why should a business dynamo like Manhattan be on an island anyway? It’s like New Orleans being built below sea lever and thinking they have a right to not only be there but rights to other peoples’ money to remain there. Again: NO! You can’t have it.

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