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UPDATED: T4 America sends letter to New Jersey Governor Christie on ARC Tunnel

8 Oct 2010 | Posted by | 0 Comments |

UPDATED: 10/8/2010 4:30 pm.  Gov. Christie has reversed course after meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, according to this release from Sen. Lautenberg

UPDATED: 2:20 p.m. Gov. Christie has formally killed the ARC project. Details here.

You may have heard the news that the ARC tunnel project in New Jersey is on fragile ground. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says his office has not made a final decision yet, but he is expected to make some kind of announcement at a 1:30pm press conference this afternoon. Transportation for America prepared a letter to the Governor’s office, touting the “critical importance this project has to the northeast and the nation in general.” The full text of the letter is below:

October 7, 2010

Governor Chris Christie
State of New Jersey
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0001

Dear Governor Christie,

As a broad transportation reform coalition with more than 500 partners, we write to convey the significant national benefits of the ARC tunnel project. We understand your office is in the process of weighing your options on this important project and want to make sure we express the critical importance this project has to the northeast and the nation in general.

Both the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have already pledged billions of dollars to ARC, though we understand that a final review of these funds remains in progress. It is also our understanding that your office is concerned that the cost overruns associated with ARC will put a dent in the state budget. Fiscal responsibility is paramount to Transportation for America. It is the reason we want to reform our nation’s transportation policy through real benchmarks and accountability, so every dollar is spent wisely. However, short-term concerns aside, putting the brakes on the ARC tunnel would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Today, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak carry 170,000 passengers a day through the existing tunnels, but planners predict that ridership on New Jersey Transit alone will double in the next 20 years. The Tri-State region is in desperate need of added tunnel capacity, especially during peak hours, just to keep up with the increasing demand. Without the ARC tunnel, New Jersey residents will be saddled with increasing traffic gridlock, more painful commutes and a lower quality of service for transit riders.

According to Port Authority estimates, this project would result in 6,000 construction jobs and would bring $4 billion in increased personal income to the area, along with increased housing values. You have also spoken passionately about economic growth and job creation. Pulling the plug on ARC would prevent new jobs and new growth.

Investing in reliable and affordable rail service is an integral part of America’s transportation future, and New Jersey cannot afford not to get on board. Putting the brakes on this project not only throws away billions of dollars, but it puts New Jersey on the sidelines when the state should be leading the way on America’s transportation future.

James Corless
Director, Transportation for America