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FTA APPROVES NEXT MAJOR STEP FOR TUNNEL PROJECT
January 19, 2007
Contact: Penny Bassett Hackett or Dan Stessel 973 491-7078
NEWARK, NJ ó NJ TRANSIT today announced the achievement of another major milestone in the Access to the Regionís Core (ARC) project, with a new trans-Hudson tunnel as its centerpiece.
NJ TRANSIT has received formal approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to release the projectís Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which enables the agency to schedule public hearings in both New Jersey and New York. The release of the DEIS is the next step in securing federal funding for the project.
"This is a critical step toward getting a shovel in the ground in 2009," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "This project is important not only for transit capacity and continued economic growth, but it will provide crucial redundancy that will enhance rail security."
After completion of the public hearings, NJ TRANSIT will prepare the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for submission to FTA for approval, clearing the way for federal funding and the start of construction in 2009.
"This is a major step forward for a project that will break the trans-Hudson commuter rail bottleneck. It will add needed capacity for commuters, reduce the congestion on our highways and improve our environment," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. "I plan to use my recent appointment to the Senate Appropriations Committee to make certain this critical project continues to receive the utmost attention and support from the federal government."
"The importance of this project to the region's economy cannot be overstated," said Senator Robert Menendez. "Not only will this project benefit millions of commuters who rely on the state's transit system, it will create tens of thousands of high quality jobs that will fuel our region's economic competitiveness. I am proud to have been a strong proponent of this project from the beginning, and I am glad the Federal Transit Administration has given us the green light to move forward."
"Mass transit is the lifeblood of New York's economy," said Senator Charles Schumer. "And, from Manhattan to Rockland and Orange Counties, as the region grows we must expand our ability to move commuters to and from jobs, entertainment and shopping.
Access to the Region's Core will not only ease traffic flow across the board, but will also improve quality of life by providing a one-seat ride to the heart of Manhattan. The new connection will go a long way toward reducing congestion along Hudson Valley roads and bridges. Today's decision is an important step forward for this vital project and for commuters in Rockland, orange and beyond."
The Port Authority of NY & NJ has already committed up to two billion dollars for the project, recognizing its important trans-Hudson mission to reduce congestion, expand capacity, and enhance security while promoting economic development.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "Construction of the commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River is as important today as the building of the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge was to earlier generations. We will continue to support this critical project, as history will demonstrate that this was a crucial investment and the turning point for creating a truly regional economy."
NJ TRANSIT recognized the hard work of both the New Jersey and New York Congressional delegations Ė in particular, Senators Lautenberg, Menendez, Schumer and Clinton Ė as well as New York City Mayor Bloomberg and thanked them for their unwavering support for the project.
"We look forward to continuing to work with the Congress and FTA Administrator Simpson to ensure this project advances on schedule and remains a high priority throughout the federal funding process," said Governor Corzine.
The Access to the Regionís Core (ARC) program includes two new single-track railroad tunnels between New Jersey and New York, additional station capacity under 34th Street in Manhattan, and signal and track improvements along and adjacent to the Northeast Corridor.
The project will allow for the introduction of one-seat rail service on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley and Raritan Valley lines, the Montclair-Boonton Line west of Montclair, North Jersey Coast Line south to Bay Head, as well as the Morristown Line west of Dover. It will also create the capacity to connect the future Northern Branch Rail Line directly to Manhattan.
The project includes expanded station capacity north of NY Penn Station under 34th Street, with underground connections to New York City subway lines (6th, 7th, 8th and Broadway) and PATH trains.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.
For more information: www.accesstotheregionscore.com