Gov. Christie Cancels Most Significant Transportation and Economic Development Project in NJ

Governor Chris Christie today announced he would cancel the Access to the Region's Core tunnel project - the largest public transit project underway in the nation - citing potential cost overrun concerns.

RPA released the following statement:

FROM: Regional Plan Association
CONTACT: Neysa Pranger at (917) 532-0567; [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 7, 2010

RPA STATEMENT ON CANCELLATION OF ARC

(New York, NY) - Regional Plan Association, an independent planning organization representing the tri-state region, today released the following statement regarding the cancellation of the Access to the Region's Core project:

Governor Chris Christie today announced he would cancel the Access to the Region's Core tunnel project - the largest public transit project underway in the nation - citing potential cost overrun concerns.

The decision casts a dark shadow over the economic future of New Jersey. The State will lose out on an astonishing $6 billion matching contributions from the federal government and Port Authority. The tunnel would have opened New Jerseyans' access to Manhattan's lucrative job market, raised tax revenues for the state and local governments, boosted property values, provided a more reliable and faster commute to hundreds of thousands of NJ TRANSIT commuters and drivers, and saved on greenhouse gas emissions.

Governor Christie's claim that he supports ARC but could not move forward because of budget overruns is most likely not true. The FTA never released its estimates for potential budget overruns - only Governor Christie estimates them to be in the $3 billion to $5 billion range. What's more, Trenton has repeatedly rebuffed federal officials' efforts to work out a cost overrun deal. Governor Christie says he wants to cut wasteful spending but New Jersey now has to refund approximately $200 million in already spent funds to the federal government.

Going forward, we will work with federal and state officials on redirecting the funds to other high priority and publicly supported projects in the region, which could include such worthy projects as , Phase II of Moynihan Station, a new one-seat PATH ride from Lower Manhattan to Newark airport and Phase II of Second Avenue Subway.

"The decision to cancel ARC is an enormous disappointment," said Bob Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association. "ARC was desperately needed by the residents of New Jersey who now face limited access to the most lucrative job market in the nation, less reliable commutes and more congested roadways at the Hudson River crossings for the next generation."

Tom Wright, Executive Director of RPA, said "New Jersey needs ARC. 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. All of this has been jeopardized by this decision."

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A statement was also released jointly today by NJPIRG, Environment New Jersey, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Regional Plan Association

CONTACT:
- Neysa Pranger, Regional Plan Association
(212) 253-5796 or (917) 532-0567 or [email protected]
- Zoe Baldwin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(212) 268-7474 or (609) 271-0778 or [email protected]
- Doug O'Malley, Environment New Jersey
609-392-5151, Ext. 311 or [email protected]
- Jennifer Kim, NJPIRG
[email protected]

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 7, 2010

FOLLOWING GOVERNOR CHRISTIE'S ANNOUNCEMENT TO KILL TUNNEL PROJECT, GROUPS SAY NJ NEEDS ARC, NOT MORE GIMMICKS AND HIGHWAYS

Governor Christie's cancellation of the ARC tunnel project is a short-sighted move that will stunt New Jersey's growth for generations to come. With today's announcement, Governor Christie is single handedly destroying 20 years of NJ Transit's progress while killing the largest public transit investment in history, all for a one-time infusion of cash.

Cancelling the project will have immediate and long-term consequences.

Not building ARC will increase already gridlocked conditions across the Hudson and place a hard cap on the number of New Jerseyans who can access to the most lucrative job market in the nation. Jobs in New York, which are expected to grow, will instead be filled by residents in Queens and Long Island who are gaining greater access with the East Side Access project.

By reneging on its commitment to the project without a meaningful search for funding solutions, NJ is losing more than just $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money. It's losing more than 40,000 jobs while unemployment soars. It's losing mobility when the state is choked with traffic. It's losing economic development opportunities while municipalities struggle to stay afloat. The only things the state gains from this terrible loss are an extra 66,000 tons of carbon emissions a year from residents who will drive instead of taking the train, and a loud and clear signal that it is business as usual in New Jersey. The Christie administration has joined its predecessors by relying on short-term financial fixes instead of real change.

"The demise of the ARC tunnel cements Governor Christie's legacy as anti-transit and anti-green jobs," said Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "He says he is anti-tax, yet raised transit fares by 22%. He has turned his back on his constituents who will remain stuck in traffic at the Hudson River crossing and delayed on NJTransit trains."

Despite the cost review and call for fiscal responsibility when it comes to ARC, the Christie administration is borrowing another $2 billion for other megaprojects whose budgets have ballooned in recent years: the widenings of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

"Transportation produces the largest portion of New Jersey's global warming emissions, and by deep-sixing the ARC tunnel, Gov. Christie is turning his back on transit riders and the environment," said Dena Mottola Jaborksa, executive director for Environment New Jersey.

"Gov. Christie's message to commuters today is clear --- expect delays. Whether you're on the rails or on the road, canceling the ARC tunnel will mean more crowded trains, more traffic jams and longer commutes," said Jen Kim, NJPIRG's program advocate.

"The decision to cancel ARC is an enormous disappointment," said Bob Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association. "ARC was desperately needed by the residents of New Jersey who now face limited access to the most lucrative job market in the nation, less reliable commutes and more congested roadways at the Hudson River crossings for the next generation."

Tom Wright, Executive Director of RPA, said "New Jersey needs ARC. 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. All of this has been jeopardized by this decision."