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STRONG FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR MASS TRANSIT TUNNEL
May 7, 2009
NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey hailed today’s news that President Barack Obama has designated the ARC Mass Transit Tunnel to receive $200 million in the administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 federal budget. This brings the total federal funding commitment to the Mass Transit Tunnel project so far to nearly $400 million.
“The President’s inclusion of this money for the Mass Transit Tunnel is a clear indication of the Administration’s strong support for what is the largest transit project getting under way in the nation,” Governor Jon S. Corzine said.
“I spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this morning, and I am delighted the President’s budget includes language directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to move quickly to recommend the Tunnel for an ‘Early Systems Work Agreement.’ This agreement will formalize the federal government’s multi-year funding commitment to the project,” Corzine said.
“We appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this critical infrastructure project and applaud the hard work by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and the rest of the Congressional delegation with President Obama and Vice President Biden to obtain federal support for the Mass Transit Tunnel,” said NJ Department of Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts.
“This funding, along with Vice President Biden’s visit today, highlights the importance of infrastructure work, both for immediate economic stimulus and job creation, and to guarantee that our residents will have a multimodal transportation system that serves their needs in the future,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles.
“The budget announcement by the President is an enormous shot in the arm for this historic project of national significance, and one that will help us put shovels in the ground and help create much-needed jobs this spring,” said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Anthony Coscia.
Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward noted the Mass Transit Tunnel will provide vital transportation benefits for the entire region. “By doubling train capacity between New Jersey and New York, we will assure the region remains competitive in the decades ahead.”
“We at the Port Authority are proud to partner with NJ TRANSIT and the federal government in this historic public work,” added Susan Bass Levin, the PA’s deputy executive director. “Along with creating jobs and improving mobility, the tunnel will improve our quality of life by removing 22,000 cars a day from our congested highways, and cleaning the air we breathe.”
Governor Corzine has made the Mass Transit Tunnel a top transit priority. The Governor’s efforts resulted in the commitment of $5.7 billion in regional funding for the MTT, including $3 billion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and $2.7 billion from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, state congestion mitigation funds and the state Transportation Trust Fund.
The Mass Transit Tunnel will create 6,000 construction and related jobs a year over the life of the project, and generate 44,000 permanent jobs upon completion. The Tunnel will add $10 billion in gross regional product and $4 billion in additional real personal income.
Construction of the MTT will break a transportation bottleneck at the Hudson River, where the existing 100-year-old commuter rail tunnel under the river has only two tracks that are pushed to their functional limits each rush hour with NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak trains. The Mass Transit Tunnel will more than double peak capacity between New Jersey and Manhattan from 23 trains per hour to 48.
In addition to two new side-by-side single-track tunnels, the project will create a state-of-the-art expansion to Penn Station New York, with wider platforms and more escalators to ease commuters’ trips. The new tracks also will provide direct access to NYC subway lines, PATH trains and existing Penn Station services.
The project will also create one-seat (direct) commutes to New York for NJ TRANSIT customers on seven commuter rail lines – Main/Bergen County, Port Jervis, Pascack Valley, Montclair-Boonton west of Montclair State University, Morris & Essex west of Dover, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast south of Long Branch, as well as future rail expansion lines and more frequent service and more express service on all lines.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 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 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.