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MCGREEVEY ANNOUNCES MAJOR PROGRESS FOR “ARC” PROJECT
Governor, supporters announce awarding of DEIS for Access to the Region's Core ProjectExpanded passenger facilities, track and tunnel planning launched
NEWARK – As part of an ongoing effort to increase rail capacity between New Jersey and New York, Governor James E. McGreevey was joined at Newark Penn Station today by federal, state and local lawmakers and advocacy groups to announce a major step forward in the Access to the Region’s Core project.
During a special meeting, NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a $4.9 million contract to Transit Link, a joint venture of Parsons Brinkerhoff and Systra Engineering, to produce a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project.
“New Jersey’s transportation network is an integral part of our attraction as a business location, an engine of economic growth, and new job creation,” said McGreevey. “We must keep New Jersey’s commuters moving to keep our economy growing and jobs coming. Between 2010 and 2020, our rail tunnels will reach maximum capacity. We can add all the bi-level cars and additional train stations physically possible, but at some point, we must make sure that the infrastructure is in place to support increased ridership.”
The ARC study could become one of the region’s largest ever public works projects – and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs – by constructing expanded passenger facilities in close proximity to Penn Station New York, trackwork and a two-track rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River. The trans-Hudson corridor development project will benefit both New Jersey and New York by improving mobility, serving as a catalyst for economic development and creating safety- and security-critical redundancy.
United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, who secured the dollars being announced today in 2000, stated, “I was proud to get this money and I will work hard to see we get the full amount necessary to get this tunnel built. A new tunnel will create jobs, reduce congestion and help the environment. It’s a win-win for everyone."
United States Senator Jon S. Corzine announced that he is seeking $16 million in federal dollars to fund the next level of planning efforts needed to advance the project. Corzine stated, “A second Hudson River commuter rail tunnel is essential for continued economic growth in our region. The ability of NJ Transit to improve and expand rail service - and connect a variety of rail routes in northern and central New Jersey - depends on the construction of this new tunnel. More people riding NJ Transit trains will mean fewer cars on the road during rush hours and fewer traffic jams. And that not only means greater economic productivity, it means cleaner air.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure stated, "Unless we want to start paving over our backyards, we must continue to increase opportunity for New Jerseyans to get out of their cars and into the mass transit system. Access to Manhattan is critical to the economic growth of our state and another passenger car tunnel is not an option. For every billion dollars spent on transportation projects, 42,000 jobs are created. This project will not only provide cleaner air, more efficient travel, and increase quality of New Jersey life, but it will create jobs as well. I am proud to take the lead on House Transportation Committee to seek federal funding for the project through the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization."
In partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), the DEIS will refine and analyze plans for expanded passenger facilities in midtown Manhattan, new track, bridge work and the construction of a new trans-Hudson tunnel, providing significant capacity relief by effectively doubling the number of trains operating to and from midtown Manhattan. The project would ease rail traffic congestion in the heart of the region.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia joined the Governor at the announcement and said, "For more than 80 years, the Port Authority has worked to create a world-class transportation network that would support jobs and economic growth throughout the region. This bold, aggressive rail plan will ease traffic delays at the Hudson River crossings, provide more capacity to transport people to and from Manhattan by rail, and ultimately help support economic growth in New York and New Jersey."
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "This study will help us determine the feasibility of a Hudson River Tunnel and determine the best way to move forward with this project. The Port Authority and NJ Transit will continue to work together to assess the impacts and benefits of the proposed project."
Joseph J. Seymour, Port Authority Executive Director stated, “This regional partnership will help ensure that New York Penn Station has the capability to handle expanded commuter, intercity, and airport-access services well into the next century."
Officials said today the project would provide multiple regional benefits. It is expected to create several thousand construction jobs, and ultimately will provide commuter access to more than one million jobs in midtown Manhattan. Importantly, additional rail capacity will contribute to recreational and commercial development opportunities on the west side of midtown Manhattan and along the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey. In addition to the expanded capacity, the project provides safety- and security-critical redundancies in a post-9/11 environment, and protects the reliability of the region’s transportation network.
New Jersey Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere said, “A century ago, visionaries changed our economic future by creating the region’s first trans-Hudson passenger rail initiative, including construction of a critical tunnel between New Jersey and New York. Governor McGreevey is likewise securing the next generation’s economic future by making expanded passenger rail access a transportation priority.”
Specifically, the DEIS will:
Identify connecting opportunities between NJ TRANSIT and other regional transit providers including New York City subways, Amtrak and PATH.
Pursue more detailed analysis and conceptual engineering of all project components.
Establish a phased implementation plan to provide near-term capacity relief and long-term capacity expansion.
Conduct environmental analysis and public outreach in conformance with FTA requirements.
The DEIS – scheduled for completion in 2005 – is the next step of work required to allow the New Jersey, midtown Manhattan trans-Hudson corridor development project to continue qualifying for federal funding. The next steps are:
2005 to 2007 – Preliminary engineering and final design work.
2008 – Groundbreaking for near term capacity improvements (including new double-track railroad between Secaucus and Hudson River and a new storage yard west of existing Penn Station New York).
2010 – Begin construction of tunnel and expanded station area in New York.
2015 – Estimated completion of construction.
Work on the ARC project began in 1994 when NJ TRANSIT, the PANYNJ and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began assessing the need to better integrate the regional transportation network. 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.
Capacity on the system was further constrained by 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 November 2003, requiring more capacity needs.
In addition to pursuing the trans-Hudson corridor development, NJ TRANSIT – under the leadership of the Board of Directors and Governor McGreevey – has been implementing a “Back to Basics” program that includes increasing available seats on trains and buses, expanding parking opportunities at passenger facilities, improving customer service and making investments in critical equipment and infrastructure to improve the reliability of service.