Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg: It's Time To Put The Tunnel Back On Track
Project Vital To New Jersey's FutureLautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224
Friday, October 08, 2010NEWARK, N.J. – Today, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) reacted to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s reversal of yesterday’s decision to kill the ARC tunnel project and news that he will restart negotiations for an additional two weeks. The reversal comes following a meeting between Governor Christie and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
“I expect the Governor to now work in good faith with the federal government to move this project forward,” Lautenberg said. “Governor Christie needs to put politics aside and work on behalf of New Jersey commuters to get this tunnel back on track.”
The ARC Tunnel is slated to receive $3 billion in federal funds, the largest federal contribution to a mass transit project in the history of the nation, and $3 billion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg yesterday made it clear that the $3 billion in federal funding slated for the ARC project cannot be redirected to New Jersey projects and will go to other states if the project is halted.
“The Secretary was clear with Governor Christie: if this tunnel doesn't get built, the three billion dollars will go to other states. We can’t allow that to happen,” Lautenberg said.
Because New Jersey has already spent $300 million in federal funds on the tunnel project, canceling the project now would mean the state has to repay the federal government.
If completed, the ARC Tunnel project would double commuter rail capacity by adding two new single-track tunnels – supplementing the existing, 100-year old rail tunnel that is now pushed to its functional limit each commuting day. Twice as many passengers would be accommodated, from 45,000 each morning peak period now to 90,000 in the future. This would get 22,000 cars off the roads every day and eliminate nearly 70,000 tons of harmful greenhouse gasses gases every year.
The project has the potential to create 6,000 construction related jobs a year, and 44,000 permanent jobs once completed. In addition, the new tunnel has been projected to significantly increase home values for many New Jerseyans. Homes in Bergen County within two miles of a train station were projected to increase in value by $19,000, and homes within walking distance of a train station would increase by an average of $29,000. The cumulative increase in home values in the region would grow by $18 billion over eight years.