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.
Sometimes, I wonder if a secret underlying cause to cancelling the ARC tunnel is to bring more jobs out of New York and into New Jersey.
between this and the toll increases, it’s clear that Christie cares little about his constituents who work outside of his state.
Uh, why would canceling ARC do that? It ought to have the opposite effect, if anything.
Some of us Jersey rail advocates would see the mirror-image of Scott E’s speculation as being more likely: New Jersey’s economic edge in the region is hampered, not enhanced, by the strain on trans-Hudson access. We acknowledge this risk even as we continue to strive for something better than, and more akin to the original concept of, Access to the Region’s Core.
what about the arguement of since the jobs we want are not here in NJ, we will make it as difficult as possible to get to Manhattan where they are actually located. Sort of like transportation punishment reguardless of the mode of travel.
I know, sounds totally nuts but remember this is Chris Christie we’re talking about & I wouldn’t put anything past him.
How does New Jersey enhance its economic edge with yet another freeway widening?
Isn’t that what he is saying?
And is it just me, or does that area seem like it runs at about the right capacity anyway? The widening almost seems like deliberate waste.
It is a total waist since recent statistics reviel total traffic volume on the turnpike has dropped around 7% since 2008 when all the ecconomic problems began. Infact that number maybe even higher, but I’m not sure. One thing I’m sure about is that useage numbers didn’t return to what they once were.
Numbers I quoted came from http://www.tstc.org Tri State Transportation Campaign.
It may be you. Driving between exit 6 and 8A on Sundays and summer weekends has been murder for the past 20+ years.
I admittedly drive much less these days, but I remember it being much worse 6-7 years ago.
Widening the Turnpike is yet another new form of insanity. The greatest portion of the Turnpike’s morning commute just winds up funneling into the GWB and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. But Chris Christy has no intention of widening any of those crossings … because they can’t be widened. So his “solution” to having money in the state’s transportation fund is not merely to squander it, but to encourage more of the already oppressive bottlenecks that northern New Jersey faces at those three crossings on a daily basis.
Governor Crusty … if you really hate mass-transit that much, and you have to throw your “surplus” money into more gas-consuming infrastructure, then why don’t you just build a “Trucks Only” tunnel from the northern reaches of the Turnpike all the way to I-95 at the Connecticut border? As we speak, the GWB is the most used bridge in the country – and the most likely to jamb up at the drop of a hat – LITERALLY – the drop of a hat on the Cross Bronx is enough to do it. I’ve seen it!
With a bypass tunnel for commercial traffic to New England, commuters will whiz across the GWB and down the east or west sides of Manhattan, the bridge will be spared some maintenance costs, your state will have less pollution and your affluent Bergen County commuters will love you for it.
OR … you can do the right thing and pump it into accelerating the opening of the West Haverstraw Line and expanding the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which will serve much of the same community – albeit in a non-ideologically driven forward-thinking way.