Governor Chris Christie has until this Friday to review and decide on several options to save the plan for the new Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel from New Jersey to Penn Station, and New Jersey senators are taking to the streets to put pressure on Christie to approve the project once again. Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez will rally with union workers at the tunnel's construction site in North Bergen, and previously spoke of the benefits of the new rail. He said in a statement:
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. Make no mistake: with the ARC Tunnel, commutes will be shorter, but without this tunnel, commutes will become intolerably long. We are already at near capacity with the current 100 year-old tunnel, and demand for rail service in New Jersey to midtown Manhattan is expected to double over the next two decades.
The new tunnel would double rail capacity between New Jersey and New York, create an estimated 6,000 construction jobs, and would relieve the flow of about 22,000 cars between the states. However, Christie said the $8.7 billion price tag ($2.7 billion of which would be paid by New Jersey) was too much for the state right now. And it looks like all the rallies won't change his mind. He said yesterday that unless the federal government chipped in for New Jersey's share, he's fine with walking away from the project. "I don't want to hear about the jobs it will create. If I don't have the money for the payroll, it will not create the jobs," Christie said. "This is not a difficult decision for me....I can't write the check if there is no money in the account." Looks like we'll have to find hope for a faster trip back from the Meadowlands elsewhere.