Decision pending on future of ARC21 October 2010
Tomorrow New Jersey governor Chris Christie will announce his final decision on cancelling the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core or Trans-Hudson Express) tunnel, after a two-week reprieve that he agreed to at the request of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Christie said he has no problem walking away from the USD 8.7bn project if money doesn’t surface from another source. Approximately USD 3bn had been set aside for funding from each the Federal Government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The state of New Jersey would need to cover the rest, plus any overruns.
The republican governor is meeting with LaHood today.
Christie called for a 30-day suspension of the project in mid-September to review funding for the ARC tunnel, also known as the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel. The move sparked criticism from the state’s democrat politicians, who called on him to support the project.
He later announced October 7 that he was cancelling the tunnel because the state may not have the money to cover any cost increases, which he said could bring the project up to at least USD 11bn or even up to USD 14bn. "We simply can't spend what we don't have," he said.
Both New York governor David Paterson and mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York have said they don’t want to see the tunnel end, but haven’t got funding for it.
During the two-week reprieve several groups and elected officials have launched a public outreach campaign handing out leaflets at New Jersey transit stations, and taking out ads in support of the tunnel in the state’s major daily newspapers.
Supporters of the tunnel note that not only would the tunnel provide a much-needed transportation link into Manhattan, will improve traffic and environmental conditions and boost unemployment in the state—that cancelling it may mean the loss of USD 6bn in federal funding for the state.
Christie has said he doesn’t “want to hear about the jobs it will create. If I don’t have the money for the payroll.”
The project called for two single-track rail lines connecting New Jersey to Penn Station in Manhattan beneath the Hudson River, in three sections. The contract for the 2.26km Hudson Tunnels has not yet been awarded, though five contractors have been pre-qualified to proceed to Phase II for the final design and construction.
Contracts for tunnels on the New Jersey and Manhattan lengths have been awarded. A USD 583M contract went to Barnard-Judlau jv for the 1.6km long Manhattan Tunnels, connecting to a new underground expansion of Penn Station. A Shea, Schiavone and Skanska jv received a USD 259M contract for the two 1.6km TBM bored Palisades Tunnels, on the New Jersey side of the river.