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NJ TRANSIT ADVANCES ACCESS TO THE REGION’S CORE PROJECT

Rail Investment Needed to Meet Future Trans-Hudson Demand

NEWARK, NJ, October 9, 2002 – The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the Corporation’s Executive Director to enter into an agreement with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to coordinate the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Access to the Region’s Core Study (ARC).

ARC is a high-priority, long-term project for the State of New Jersey, designed to significantly increase rail access and overall trans-Hudson capacity between New Jersey and New York – and safeguard the overall mobility and economic vitality of the region.

“Over the past six months, this Administration has taken many steps to increase capacity, improve customer service and make mass transit a welcome option, not a last resort,” said Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox. “But today’s historic agreement underscores our commitment to making a second trans-Hudson River crossing a reality. This project will continue to be the focus of our mass transportation agenda in the months and years to come.”

“New Jersey finds itself at a critical crossroad, one that warrants immediate action to preserve the long-term integrity of trans-Hudson capacity between New Jersey and New York,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George Warrington. “With the overwhelming change in September 11 commuter patterns – combined with additional trains, the recent opening of MidTOWN DIRECT-Montclair and the future opening of Secaucus Transfer – it would be irresponsible for us not to plan for the future.”

The ARC study includes the potential for a new two-track rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River, providing significant capacity relief by effectively doubling the number of trains currently operating to and from Penn Station New York. The EIS will also examine the integration of other transit services in the region in support of future regional economic growth.

Specifically, the EIS will:

  • Pursue further analysis and conceptual engineering of project components.
  • Identify a phased implementation plan to provide near-term capacity relief and long-term capacity expansion.
  • Conduct an environmental analysis and public outreach, leading to the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in conformance with Federal Transit Administration requirements.

Work on the ARC project began in the early 1990’s as NJ TRANSIT was planning and implementing immediate and long-term plans to integrate the NJ TRANSIT rail system. Since that time, ridership to Penn Station New York has grown substantially on all three rail lines serving Penn Station New York – the Northeast Corridor, the North Jersey Coast Line and MidTOWN DIRECT rail service. The capacity constraints on the system were further aggravated following the September 11, 2001 closure of the PATH World Trade Center station. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will begin opening the Secaucus Transfer Station on weekends in fall 2003, with plans to offer weekday service following the opening of a new PATH lower Manhattan station in winter 2003/2004, requiring more capacity needs.

Current Trans-Hudson Rail Access

  • The current Hudson River rail tunnels – owned and operated by Amtrak — were constructed nearly 100 years ago and are now at capacity in the peak hours.
  • NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak will be able to increase the number of peak hour trains operating through the tunnels from 19 to 25 trains per peak hour in spring 2003 when installation is completed on a high-density signal system on the Northeast Corridor between Newark and New York.
  • Other recent improvements to help increase capacity to New York include electric traction power system improvements, train storage yard expansions, completion of the 7th Avenue Concourse at Penn Station New York, the acquisition of high-horsepower ALP-46 locomotives and Comet V coach cars and the anticipated purchase of new bi-level rail cars.
  • With the recent implementation of MidTOWN DIRECT-Montclair service and the anticipated completion of the Secaucus Transfer Station next year, NJ TRANSIT’s entire northern New Jersey rail network will be connected to and reliant on the Northeast Corridor’s two-track trans-Hudson tunnel for access to New York Penn Station.
  • The result of these most recent investments will increase rail capacity to 25 peak hour train slots, which are expected to be fully maximized sometime between 2010 and 2020.

Long Term Benefits of ARC Project

  • Commuter travel from New Jersey to Manhattan provides New Jersey residents with access to more than one million jobs in midtown Manhattan.
  • Improved trans-Hudson rail access would better link Manhattan’s core business district with New Jersey’s economic centers and facilitate travel to social and cultural institutions, medical facilities and recreational destinations.
  • The proposed two-track trans-Hudson tunnel is being planned to add up to 21 new trans-Hudson train slots in the peak hour, providing capacity for the projected growth of ridership demand.
  • The ARC capacity expansion will also make it possible to increase the convenience of trans-Hudson rail service by providing the capacity for direct one-seat ride rail service from existing diesel lines in New Jersey that are not currently electrified.
  • ARC also will provide the trans-Hudson capacity necessary to accommodate additional new rail initiatives throughout the State of New Jersey.

The DEIS – scheduled for completion in winter 2004/2005 – will allow the project to qualify for future federal funding. Initial cost projections for a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River range from $4-5 billion.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 160 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

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