As New Jersey politicians and rail advocates work to convince Gov. Chris Christie to restore the ARC Tunnel, the Regional Plan Association and Sen. Frank Lautenberg have released a study touting the benefits of the project. According to the latest report, the tunnel will have a significant impact on the commute times from New Jersey to Manhattan. It will double the number of households within a 50-minute train ride to the city, cut travel time by 15-30 minutes and shave up to 35 percent off many commutes.
“The ARC Tunnel will not only allow more New Jersey residents to work in New York, but it will significantly cut the amount of time it now takes to get to Manhattan,” the Senator said in a statement. “Make no mistake: With the ARC Tunnel, commutes will be shorter, but without this tunnel, commutes will become intolerably long.”
In an effort to highlight the impact that a transfer-ride ride into Manhattan for riders on the eight New Jersey Transit lines that current require a transfer to reach the city, the RPA explored how the timetables would change with this new one-seat ride in place. It is the companion piece to a study released earlier this year showing how ARC will lead to an $18-billion increase in property value. “The benefits of ARC are far-reaching and well-defined,” Bob Yaro, president of the RPA, said. “The project will increase the reliability of NJ Transit trains, reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, drive economic growth in the right places and boost home values. Perhaps most significantly, ARC will cut commute times for NJ Transit riders on average between 15 and 30 minutes per day.”
By comparing the Spring 2010 train schedules with trends in NJ Transit operations and the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, the RPA assessed savings on a station-by-station basis. Travel between Trenton and New York City would speed up by nearly 20 minutes, and the ride from Orange to the Big Apple would take 36 minutes less than it does now. Those coming in from the North Jersey Coast would see travel times reduced by over 45 minutes. (Information by each station is available on this interactive map.)
Currently, Gov. Christie and the Federal Transit Administration are undertaking a two-week study of the ARC Tunnel’s finances, and on October 21, the two sides will again meet to determine the fate of the tunnel. Lautenberg urged them to find a solution.
“We are already at near capacity with the current 100 year-old tunnel,” he said, “and demand for rail service in New Jersey to midtown Manhattan is expected to double over the next two decades. If New Jersey is to remain competitive for jobs in New York in the future, we must build this tunnel. If this project is cancelled, New Jersey’s transportation system will become a parking lot — isolated from job opportunities in Manhattan. Jobs that would have gone to New Jerseyans will instead go to people in Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island. We can’t let that happen.”