It was but a mere formality, but the New Jersey Turnpike Authority voted this Wednesday to redirect $1.25 billion originally slated for the ARC Tunnel to the state’s ailing Transportation Trust Fund. Instead of support rail expansion, the money will now go toward a turnpike widening project, various road maintenance plans and, if any is left over, New Jersey Transit’s capital plan.
As Mike Frassinelli from The Star-Ledger noted, “The move allows Gov. Chris Christie to boost the state’s Transportation Trust Fund that pays for road and bridge repairs and transit services, while at the same time keeping his pledge not to raise the state’s comparatively low gas tax.”
While the move had been announced by Christie some months ago, the state’s pro-rail contingent were none too pleased. “This toll revenue was supposed to be used to build a desperately needed trans-Hudson tunnel for New Jersey commuters,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg said in a statement. “Using this money as a slush fund for other transportation projects is a disservice to New Jersey residents facing congestion on our roads and seeking access to more jobs and more trains in and out of New York.” The trans-Hudson future — whether it be the Gateway Tunnel or an extension of the 7 to Secaucus — remains to be seen.