ARC Back on the Table

FROM:
Regional Plan Association, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Environment New Jersey, New Jersey PIRG, New Jersey Future
CONTACT:
Neysa Pranger, Regional Plan Association at (917) 532-0567 or [email protected],
Zoe Baldwin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign at (609) 271-0778 or [email protected]
Jay Corbalis, New Jersey Future at (856) 889-0540 or [email protected]
Jennifer Kim, NJPIRG at (734) 657-6959 or [email protected]
Dena Mottola Jaborska, Environment New Jersey at (609) 540-6609 or [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 8, 2010
TRANSIT, ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING GROUPS PRAISE MOVE TO EXTEND DEADLINE ON ARC
(New York, NY) - Regional Plan Association, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Environment New Jersey, New Jersey PIRG and New Jersey Future today released the following statement regarding Secretary LaHood and Governor Christie's agreement to Access to the Region's Core project:
On the heels of a dramatic announcement yesterday to cancel the Access to the Region's Core tunnel project, Governor Christie and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today they would restart negotiations on ARC - the largest public transit project underway in the nation.
The decision was praised by transit advocates and planning and environmental groups citing the project's importance to the economic future of New Jersey. Groups had previously criticized the decision to give a project 20 years in the making only a 30-day review period. They additionally had urged the FTA, State of New Jersey and NJ Transit to extend the deadline to at least 90-days to explore any and all options to keep the project going.
"While a two week extension still seems like a short period of time, we're heartened to learn the project has been granted a temporary stay of execution," said Bob Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association. "It is critical all parties stay at the table to find a reasonable solution - ARC is too important. We believe a modest gap exists and urge the State, Port Authority and FTA to close the remaining gap to this project back on track."

"New Jersey needs ARC," said Tom Wright, executive director, Regional Plan Association. Unless transit capacity under the Hudson River can grow with demand, New Jersey has a hard cap on its economic potential. With the 70,000 additional daily riders who would have used ARC, New Jersey would be more connected to New York City and the expanding global economy, companies and workers would continue locating in the Garden State, home construction would pick up, and the value of homes near transit stations would rise by an estimated $18 billion."
"We were pleased to see that an extension has been granted to further consider options for the ARC tunnel," said Peter Kasabach, Executive Director of New Jersey Future. "The project is critical not only to New Jersey's long-term transportation needs, but also to support the type of compact, transit-oriented development that will allow the state to accommodate new residents and businesses sustainably in the coming decades."
"Hopefully this means Governor Christie recognizes the ARC tunnel as a vital investment. Without it New Jersey commuters will be stuck in traffic for years to come," said Jennifer Kim, NJPIRG advocate.
"The Governor has a clear choice to make: more sprawl and more pollution or cleaner air and a healthy future," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Environment New Jersey executive director.
"ARC is a project of tremendous significance that should not be dismantled without a more thorough, objective, and comprehensive analysis," said Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Continued discussion and review will show the cost of not moving forward and the impact it will have on New Jersey's residents and economy."
Governor Christie claimed yesterday he could not move forward because of budget overruns. The Governor's decision drew strong criticism as the State would lose out on an astonishing $6 billion matching contributions from the federal government and Port Authority and have to immediately return $200 million in already-spent funds. Further, ARC's far-reaching and well-defined benefits would have gone unrealized. The project will increase New Jerseyans' access to Manhattan's lucrative job market, raise tax revenues for state and local governments, boost property values, provide a more reliable and faster commute to hundreds of thousands of NJ TRANSIT commuters and drivers, and save on greenhouse gas emissions.