ARC Revived as the Amtrak Gateway Project

Amtrak Gateway Project

» New rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan, left for dead a few months ago, comes roaring back as the Gateway Tunnel. Yet it now faces competition for limited funds.

Amtrak will not allow itself to miss the train for President Obama’s effort to “win the future.” Two weeks after the State of the Union address, in which Mr. Obama announced his intention to promote a high-speed rail system that connects 80% of the country’s population, the national railroad has made its first move.

This morning, Amtrak President Joseph Boardman and New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez headlined a press conference in which the railroad articulated a basic framework for a new rail tunnel into Manhattan. The connection — named the Gateway Project — would generally follow the alignment of the Access to the Region’s Core project, a $10 billion link that would have

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A Light Rail Extension for Staten Island?

Staten Island Transit Connections

» As the Port Authority plans for improved ship access, Staten Islanders hope a renovated Bayonne Bridge could mean new rail links.

When it opened in 1931, the Bayonne Bridge was the longest steel arch span in the world. Today it remains an impressive work of infrastructure, its magnificent girders visible from throughout the New York metropolitan region. The Port Authority-controlled link, which allows commuters to get to and from Staten Island and New Jersey, is an important connection in the regional road network.

With cargo ships getting bigger and bigger, however, the bridge has become an impediment: Its roadway hangs too low to allow for the easy passage of new Panamax-class ships readied for an expanded Panama Canal now under construction. Without clearing the way through the Kill Van Kull — the waterway over which the bridge runs — the Port of Newark will have trouble accommodating more

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To Replace the ARC Tunnel, a Subway Extension to New Jersey?

New York Rail Map

» A more than $5 billion extension of the 7 Subway could ease congestion into the city center and offer New Jerseyans a relatively painless path to the East Side of Manhattan.

Out with one transit mega-project, in with another.

Faced with the decision last month by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to eliminate state funding for the ARC tunnel — effectively ending the project — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg silently instructed municipal staff to begin studying the possibility of stretching the city’s subway system into the state across the Hudson River. Now preliminary news on the proposal has surfaced. A roughly four-mile extension of the 7 Subway Train from the West Side of Manhattan to Secaucus Junction would cost $5.3 billion and provide the extra trans-Hudson rail link the New York region has been demanding for years.

The 7 Train is currently being extended

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ARC Project Definitively Cancelled, But There Are Other Ways to Improve New Jersey’s Transit Future

New Jersey Transit train

» Capacity on New Jersey Transit can be expanded by transforming the system.

Access to the Region’s Core was to be the nation’s largest investment in transit, ever: At a cost of $8.7 billion, the project would have dramatically expanded rail capacity between New York and New Jersey by doubling the number of rail tracks available for use under the Hudson River. The result could have been a large increase in service on New Jersey Transit’s commuter rail and Amtrak’s intercity rail operations.

The project is now dead. After a two-week review demanded by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reaffirmed his decision to stop all work on a scheme for which he argues the state has no money. In other words, the ARC tunnel is low on the Governor’s priority list and certainly not worth raising taxes for: Instead, he has increased

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Elections Have Consequences

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» In canceling the ARC tunnel project, Governor Christie was fulfilling his mandate, bad decision or not.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision yesterday to cancel work on the development of the ARC tunnel project, designed to double rail capacity between his state and Midtown Manhattan, was undoubtedly a problematic one both for existing riders facing increasing congestion on commuter and intercity trains and also for the state’s future growth prospects, which are intertwined with its connections to the global financial center.

Some have equated this week’s announcement to the 1975 decision to cut off construction on New York City’s Second Avenue Subway. That delayed the completion of a project that is vital for the mobility of hundreds of thousands of residents of the city’s Upper East Side by almost forty years.

But despite the appearance of similarities, there are significant differences in the causes of the two events. One was the product

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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