These passenger tunnels are vital. The proposed freight tunnel from NJ to Brooklyn is not.
June 21, 2003
New Jersey to Study Proposal for Rail Tunnel
By RONALD SMOTHERS
NEWARK, June 20 — New Jersey Transit today chose two engineering firms to begin environmental impact studies of a proposed new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The move helped inch forward a nearly decade-old idea that still is not likely to be a reality for at least another decade.
The commuter transit agency chose a joint venture of the engineering firms of Manhattan-based Parsons Brinckerhoff and Bloomfield, N.J.-based Systra Consulting to do the $4.9 million preliminary study of the proposal. The eventual cost of the tunnel, which would be built south of the existing 93-year-old rail tunnel, has been estimated at $5 billion.
In a meeting of the agency's board in the vaulted waiting room of Newark Penn Station and at a press conference afterward, Gov. James E. McGreevey was joined by both of the state's U.S. senators and U.S. Representative William Pascrell, all of whom would be called on to secure federal funds for any tunnel project, and officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Noting that between 2010 and 2020 the existing tunnels will reach capacity, the governor said trans-Hudson travel was too important to the region to delay any longer.
"It will be the largest and most important project of our generation, and too often our generation avoids focusing on difficult projects," said Mr. McGreevey. "But we must look beyond the immediate horizon and put the groundwork in place for the next generation."
Today's action by New Jersey incrementally advances an idea that has been the object of some tension between New Jersey and New York. Since a 1995 study proposed several new trans-Hudson tunnel options, the two states have at times differed on which option best served each of their interests. At one time New York feared that the cost of the trans-Hudson tunnel would crowd out other projects.
Mr. McGreevey was careful to say today that the draft study he was authorizing with federal funds obtained by New Jersey would help put the tunnel "in the context of an overall plan for the region" so that New York's Gov. George E. Pataki could see its benefits.
More important, said one state transportation official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, New Jersey had dropped proposals by previous state administrations that would have the tunnel run to Grand Central Terminal rather than to Penn Station, where commuter trains originating in New Jersey now stop. That option was seen by some in New York as encroaching on the east side terminal and interfering with the city's goal of bringing Long Island Rail Road trains into the terminal.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
These passenger tunnels are vital. The proposed freight tunnel from NJ to Brooklyn is not.
This project will nearly double the amount of NJ Transit trains into Manhattan, this is good for NJ and NY.
It benefits NJ residents and brings more workers into the City, making staying in or re-locating to the City an easier decision for employers.
The new Hudson rail tunnel for NJ Transit, East Side Access for LIRR, LIRR connection to Lower Manhattan via a new East river tunnel, the new Lower Manhattan transit "hubs", PATH extension to EWR, a direct connection of the JFK Airtrain to Penn Station and Lower Manhattan.
These are all terrific projects which is going to NYC much more accessible to visitors, commuters and business travelers.
The economic benefits from these transit projects being developed will extend 100 years.
It will also make NJ more accessible to New Yorkers. *I dream of the day when NJ Transit trains will run like the subway.
They won't run as frequently as the subway, but service has improved a lot. *I'm still waiting to see how the new Secaucus transfer station (which looks great) will affect things.
Secaucus transfer is going to make trains more crowded, that's for sure.
They are also working on the Meadowlands spur as part of that Xanadu project, so hopefully folks from NY will be able to take NJ Transit to a Giants game (via Secaucus transfer).
McGreevey Announces Major Progress for “ARC” Project
Governor, supporters announce awarding of DEIS for Access to the Region’s Core Project
Expanded passenger facilities, track and tunnel planning launched
(NEWARK) – As part of an ongoing effort to increase rail capacity between New Jersey and New York, Governor James E. McGreevey was joined at Newark Penn Station today by federal, state and local lawmakers and advocacy groups to announce a major step forward in the Access to the Region’s Core project.
During a special meeting, NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a $4.9 million contract to Transit Link, a joint venture of Parsons Brinkerhoff and Systra Engineering, to produce a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project.
“New Jersey’s transportation network is an integral part of our attraction as a business location, an engine of economic growth, and new job creation,” said McGreevey. “We must keep New Jersey’s commuters moving to keep our economy growing and jobs coming. Between 2010 and 2020, our rail tunnels will reach maximum capacity. We can add all the bi-level cars and additional train stations physically possible, but at some point, we must make sure that the infrastructure is in place to support increased ridership.”
The ARC study could become one of the region’s largest ever public works projects – and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs – by constructing expanded passenger facilities in close proximity to Penn Station New York, trackwork and a two-track rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River. The trans-Hudson corridor development project will benefit both New Jersey and New York by improving mobility, serving as a catalyst for economic development and creating safety- and security-critical redundancy.
United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, who secured the dollars being announced today in 2000, stated, “I was proud to get this money and I will work hard to see we get the full amount necessary to get this tunnel built. A new tunnel will create jobs, reduce congestion and help the environment. It’s a win-win for everyone."
United States Senator Jon S. Corzine announced that he is seeking $16 million in federal dollars to fund the next level of planning efforts needed to advance the project. Corzine stated, “A second Hudson River commuter rail tunnel is essential for continued economic growth in our region. The ability of NJ Transit to improve and expand rail service - and connect a variety of rail routes in northern and central New Jersey - depends on the construction of this new tunnel. More people riding NJ Transit trains will mean fewer cars on the road during rush hours and fewer traffic jams. And that not only means greater economic productivity, it means cleaner air.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure stated, "Unless we want to start paving over our backyards, we must continue to increase opportunity for New Jerseyans to get out of their cars and into the mass transit system. Access to Manhattan is critical to the economic growth of our state and another passenger car tunnel is not an option. For every billion dollars spent on transportation projects, 42,000 jobs are created. This project will not only provide cleaner air, more efficient travel, and increase quality of New Jersey life, but it will create jobs as well. I am proud to take the lead on House Transportation Committee to seek federal funding for the project through the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization."
In partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), the DEIS will refine and analyze plans for expanded passenger facilities in midtown Manhattan, new track, bridge work and the construction of a new trans-Hudson tunnel, providing significant capacity relief by effectively doubling the number of trains operating to and from midtown Manhattan. The project would ease rail traffic congestion in the heart of the region.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia joined the Governor at the announcement and said, "For more than 80 years, the Port Authority has worked to create a world-class transportation network that would support jobs and economic growth throughout the region. This bold, aggressive rail plan will ease traffic delays at the Hudson River crossings, provide more capacity to transport people to and from Manhattan by rail, and ultimately help support economic growth in New York and New Jersey."
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "This study will help us determine the feasibility of a Hudson River Tunnel and determine the best way to move forward with this project. The Port Authority and NJ Transit will continue to work together to assess the impacts and benefits of the proposed project."
Joseph J. Seymore, Port Authority Executive Director stated, “This regional partnership will help ensure that New York Penn Station has the capability to handle expanded commuter, intercity, and airport-access services well into the next century."
Officials said today the project would provide multiple regional benefits. It is expected to create several thousand construction jobs, and ultimately will provide commuter access to more than one million jobs in midtown Manhattan. Importantly, additional rail capacity will contribute to recreational and commercial development opportunities on the west side of midtown Manhattan and along the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey. In addition to the expanded capacity, the project provides safety- and security-critical redundancies in a post-9/11 environment, and protects the reliability of the region’s transportation network.
New Jersey Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere said,
“A century ago, visionaries changed our economic future by creating the region’s first trans-Hudson passenger rail initiative, including construction of a critical tunnel between New Jersey and New York. Governor McGreevey is likewise securing the next generation’s economic future by making expanded passenger rail access a transportation priority.”
Specifically, the DEIS will:
· Identify connecting opportunities between NJ TRANSIT and other regional transit
providers including New York City subways, Amtrak and PATH.
· Pursue more detailed analysis and conceptual engineering of all project components.
· Establish a phased implementation plan to provide near-term capacity relief and long-term capacity expansion.
· Conduct environmental analysis and public outreach in conformance with FTA requirements.
The DEIS – scheduled for completion in 2005 – is the next step of work required to allow the New Jersey, midtown Manhattan trans-Hudson corridor development project to continue qualifying for federal funding. The next steps are:
· 2005 to 2007 – Preliminary engineering and final design work.
· 2008 – Groundbreaking for near term capacity improvements (including new double-track railroad between Secaucus and Hudson River and a new storage yard west of existing Penn Station New York).
· 2010 – Begin construction of tunnel and expanded station area in New York.
· 2015 – Estimated completion of construction.
Work on the ARC project began in 1994 when NJ TRANSIT, the PANYNJ and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began assessing the need to better integrate the regional transportation network. Since that time, ridership to Penn Station New York has grown substantially on all three rail lines serving Penn Station New York – the Northeast Corridor, the North Jersey Coast Line and MidTOWN DIRECT rail service.
Capacity on the system was further constrained by the September 11, 2001 closure of the PATH World Trade Center station. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will begin opening the Secaucus Transfer Station on weekends in fall 2003, with plans to offer weekday service following the opening of a new PATH lower Manhattan station in November 2003, requiring more capacity needs.
In addition to pursuing the trans-Hudson corridor development, NJ TRANSIT – under the leadership of the Board of Directors and Governor McGreevey – has been implementing a “Back to Basics” program that includes increasing available seats on trains and buses, expanding parking opportunities at passenger facilities, improving customer service and making investments in critical equipment and infrastructure to improve the reliability of service. "
Is it time to start thinking about a totally integrated regional rail system with free transfers? Maybe a zone system such as exists in the Washington area. Do-able now that electronic tickets have arrived.
Editorial from today's Daily News:
A Port Authority custom
Manhattan: Your June 23 editorial "A tale of two tunnels," about the rail freight tunnel from Brooklyn to New Jersey, is proof again that the Port Authority helps Jersey at the expense of New York. If the PA had any interest in rebuilding the Brooklyn waterfront, this tunnel would have been dug years ago.
Similarly, if the PA wanted the Custom House back in lower Manhattan, and was actively promoting it, Customs would have returned. Nobody seems to remember why the World Trade Center was built — and what it stood for. The idea of having all the trade community in one location was never really pursued. The brokers, forwarders and steamship lines that moved into the Trade Center were treated miserably. As a result, most did not renew their leases at the new, exorbitant rents.
The twin towers were designed by the PA to make it feel great about having the tallest buildings in the world. By 9/11, I don’t think there were any tenants involved in world trade. No wonder the paperwork handled by the Custom House had diminished.
Originally Posted by JCMAN320
Damnit this stuff takes for ever. I'm going to be old and grey by the time this gets built. Somebody needs to start cracking the whip on projects like this. If only we had a Robert Moses of Mass Transit...
If they were to build a new tunnel from NJ to NY/Outer Boroughs, would you favor any access to Manhattan from it or vice versa?
My own opinion is to have a roadway that cuts across Manhattan and maybe has, AT MOST, a single lane entrance/exit ramp with a long que (sp) line.
There needs to be something to allow transit to get from one side of Manhattan to another without having to DEAL with Manhattan......
They are in the planning stages for replacing the Goethals bridge with a much larger bridge, the only realistic way to get traffic to Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island from NJ is via Staten Island.
The Staten Island Expressway has to be the most congested in the Tri-State, it's really bad.
They need to build more lanes from the "new" Geothals bridge to the Varranzano.
The only other solution is to build a combined bridge/tunnel from Monmouth County NJ to Brooklyn, similar to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Perhaps a spur off the Parkway in the vincinity of Middletown North.
That would work well for central jersey and Princeton, but it still stinks for most of the people coming from the northern suburbs (Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Passaic counties...).
I guess what I am asking is that is there any way to get people from where they are coming to where they are going without too much in between. If a lot of the through traffic had some other way to go that was not out of the way (I can drive up to the TZB on off-rush times and fly across, but that is a LONG ride from Hoboken), would that help with city traffic problems?
It seems like the most conjested areas of the city are, invariably, the crossings......
LIGHT DIMS FOR NJ TRANSIT TUNNEL
August 3, 2004
Proponents of a third cross-Hudson rail tunnel lost a bit of hoped-for leverage recently when they learned that New York City's Olympics bid will rely on buses, not the trains that run under the river, to transport athletes to basketball and soccer games at the Meadowlands. Insiders say that the $5 billion to $7 billion New Jersey Transit project has Gov. James McGreevey's support, but needs an extra boost to push it to the top of the list for federal funding.
Backers of the tunnel are now soliciting the support of the New York City Central Labor Council. The tunnel project would create some 6,000 construction jobs.
Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc