Home ARC Tunnel A mundane ending for Port Authority’s ARC money

A mundane ending for Port Authority’s ARC money

by Benjamin Kabak

With the ARC Tunnel dead and buried for the foreseeable future, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has unexpectedly found itself with over $3 billion to spend. Since there are no shortages of transportation infrastructure upgrades in the New York region that need funding, finding ways to spend this dough is no tall order. As Andrew Grossman reported in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, the Port Authority has already lined up projects to complete.

By and large, the ARC money will go to road improvements. The PA plans to reconstruct the 72-year-old approach to the Lincoln Tunnel on the New Jersey side of the river, and the George Washington Bridge needs a new set of support cables. On the transit side of things, the PA will start work on a new bus garage in Manhattan that will allow for increased bus loading and drop-offs at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Most of these projects would have been delayed until 2016 or beyond had ARC gone ahead.

I certainly can’t fault the PA for using its money, and they seem to be doing so wisely. Unfortunately, these projects won’t do much, if anything, to address the need to increase rail capacity across the Hudson River. Until we do that, the PA is simply spinning its wheels as it modernizes infrastructure leading to bottlenecks under the river.

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20 comments

Bill Reese December 6, 2010 - 2:39 pm

I would like to see them speed up the rehab of the Harrison PATH station. I’ve complained about this here before, but that station is way too antiquated to handle the fans of the NY Red Bulls stadium that was build adjacent to the station. They averaged 18,150 fans per game this season (paid tickets, not bodies). Perhaps they could add more trains on game nights, too.

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Andrew December 6, 2010 - 10:31 pm

If the station is adequate for everyday operations, shouldn’t the team pay to upgrade it for its specific needs?

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Kyle December 7, 2010 - 9:53 am

PATH does actually add trains on game days. When games occur in off times (weekends especially) PATH doubles the frequency of trains on the World Trade Center – Newark line.

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ferryboi December 6, 2010 - 2:47 pm

Any word on rebuilding/replacing the 82-year-old Goethals Bridge, a two-lane deathtrap built for Model T Fords that is way past its prime? The PA has been dragging its heels on this project, as well as the raising/replacing of the Bayonne Bridge so a new generation of huge contaniner ships can reach Port Newark.

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Anonymeese December 6, 2010 - 3:23 pm

For the Goethals, they have a Final EIS, and they’re now looking for bidders.

For the Bayonne, I don’t think they even have an EIS.

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SEAN December 6, 2010 - 2:54 pm

If rail expantions are not in the future for cross Hudson travel, then adding bus capasity with a expanded PABT & garage is the next best option. Besides the terminal needs upgrades including aditional gates.

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Matthias December 13, 2010 - 6:34 pm

Are there any plans to give more tunnel space to buses, and outside of rush hour?

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Anonymeese December 6, 2010 - 3:22 pm

For the Goethals, they have a Final EIS, and they’re now looking for bidders.

For the Bayonne, I don’t think they even have an EIS.

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Myron December 6, 2010 - 3:35 pm

If I heard correctly,

For the Goethals, they have a Final EIS, and they’re now looking for bidders.

For the Bayonne, I don’t think they even have an EIS.

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ferryboi December 6, 2010 - 3:43 pm

So let me get this straight:

For the Goethals, they have a Final EIS, and they’re now looking for bidders.

For the Bayonne, think they don’t even have an EIS.

Just checking 🙂

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SEAN December 6, 2010 - 5:47 pm

Are you sure about that? LOL

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Andrew December 6, 2010 - 10:10 pm

Yeah, I think I read that somewhere.

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Subutay Musluoglu December 6, 2010 - 3:48 pm

The PABT related work has great merit and actually would have gone forward by now if it wasn’t for all the nonsense last year involving Silverstein and backstopping the financing for his buildings at the WTC (which are probably going to sit empty for years to come, but I digress). It’s important to note that as of now, for the West Midtown Bus Storage Facility, the PANYNJ only has two concepts that involve overbuilding over either the Galvin or Dyer Plazas adjacent to the Lincoln Tunnel with connections to the main Terminal. The best choice still needs to be made, followed by design and then of ocurse construction. The opening date would still be several years away.

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E. Aron December 6, 2010 - 5:38 pm

Eric. F. will be happy – roads!!

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Bolwerk December 6, 2010 - 11:21 pm

How much would it cost to expand PATH to downtown Brooklyn? That seems like a good way to spend the money!

(Outside of NJ)

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Brandi December 7, 2010 - 12:28 am

Why can’t this money go to the 41st and 10th Ave station on the 7 extension? It is something in need of money that would make a difference.

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Alon Levy December 7, 2010 - 12:42 am

Port Authority’s primary business is cross-river transportation.

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tacony palmyra December 7, 2010 - 10:12 am

And the airports (for some reason).

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Al D December 8, 2010 - 8:58 am

From their website:

To keep the region’s commuters, travelers and global shippers moving.

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Eric F. December 7, 2010 - 9:38 am

Not really “roads”, more like replacing a helix and replacing bridge cables. There is no capacity expansion planned. The only proposed PA project I can think of that expands capacity at all is the Goethals replacement which gets you one more lane across the kill van kull. Driving over that bridge is one of the scarier experiences you can have in a vehicle. Truck drivers using that thing should get combat pay. The PA asked for bidders to handle that project, but I don’t think it’s made any public statements about how the process is going, although I believe it had asked for submissions by the end of last month. That is one project that I believe is truly “stimulative”, as it adds some capacity and eliminates a source of many econimically draining crashes that happen very frequently on the current span.

I guess they have to replace the Lincoln Tunnel helix, but really, the helix should be demolished entirely and replaced with approaches far inland. May not be a real world compatible, but the helix is an Rube Goldbergian way to get people to the tunnel, and given current real estate trends, a pretty lousy use of waterfront property.

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