NJ Governor Kills Commuter Rail Tunnel to NY
Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the nation’s largest transit project, saying the state couldn’t afford the potential cost overruns of the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel. Already under construction, the ARC tunnel would provide a new commuter-rail link to Manhattan, doubling New Jersey Transit service, which currently runs at peak hour capacity. The project was expected to create thousands of jobs, boost property values and support the region’s continued economic growth. The $8.7 billion tunnel had already secured $6 billion in funding, including the highest federal contribution for a transit project in history. Despite the many benefits for New Jersey’s future, Governor Christie decided to kill the tunnel, claiming he was simply looking out for the state’s “long-term fiscal health” by avoiding additional debt. But apparently, Christie is only concerned with saving money when it comes to transit. In the weeks before his final decision to cancel the ARC tunnel project, Christie’s administration borrowed $2 billion for highway widening projects, which have already incurred billions in cost overruns. It’s hard to understand the Governor’s decision to kill this critical transit investment, meanwhile expanding an unsustainable highway system, as anything more than a short-sighted political move. As millions of Americans vote this election day, deciding electoral outcomes that impact the death and life of America’s infrastructure, Christie’s lack of vision and perspective should be a reminder that the future health of our cities and communities is dependent on how well we develop and pursue sustainable long-term solutions now.