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NJ Transit to pursue new options for ARC project


On Oct. 7, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that New Jersey Transit would terminate the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project after a state review determined it would exceed its budget by several billion dollars.

“Considering the unprecedented fiscal and economic climate our state is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for billions in cost overruns,” said Christie in a statement issued Oct. 7.

But one day later, after meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss options for the project, Christie softened his stance a bit.

“The fact that the ARC project is not financially viable and is expected to dramatically exceed its current budget remains unchanged. However, this afternoon Secretary LaHood presented several options to potentially salvage a trans-Hudson tunnel project,” Christie said in an Oct. 8 statement. “At the secretary’s request, I have agreed to have [NJ Transit Executive Director] Jim Weinstein and members from his team work with the U.S. Department of Transportation staff to study those options over the next two weeks.”

The ARC project includes two new tunnels under the Hudson River, new tracks between Seacaucus Junction and New York's Penn Station, and a new rail station beneath 34th Street in Manhattan. The project would enable NJ Transit to double rail service into Manhattan, free up capacity for Amtrak, and reduce travel times and crowding on trains at Penn Station.

The project’s original cost estimate was $8.8 billion. However, based on calculations by the Federal Transit Administration and NJ Transit, the budget was expected to exceed $11 billion and perhaps surpass $14 billion.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/11/2010