I know I’m not the only one upset about the news that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has killed the New Jersey-to-New York tunnel project, the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) as it is known. To me, this project represented a huge step forward in the rebuilding of America’s transportation infrastructure. The current tunnel beneath the Hudson was built 100 years ago; do we really need to wait any longer to build another?
The existing 100-year-old tunnel under the Hudson River has only two tracks that are pushed to their functional limits each rush hour with NJ Transit and Amtrak trains. The ARC tunnel would more than double peak capacity from 23 trains per hour to 48 between New Jersey and New York; reduce roadway congestion; and generate 6,000 jobs annually during construction until project completion. The tunnel, once it entered service, would have also ultimately created 44,000 permanent jobs in the region, according to ex-NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles in a 2009 article.
I am frustrated that Gov. Christie is being so shortsighted and apparently using this project’s costs to make a political stance. While he says that New Jersey can’t afford to build this tunnel, I say they can’t afford not to.
I’m just hoping the Republican gubernatorial candidates in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin don’t succeed in pulling a “Christie” if elected, by terminating high-speed rail projects in their respective states.