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Groups, Elected Officials Urge NJ TRANSIT Riders to Speak Up for ARC

Hand out Thousands of Leaflets; Unveil Newspaper Ads as Riders Sign Giant Postcards to Governor
Message: “Governor Christie – We Need ARC!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 19, 2010

CONTACT:
Dena Mottola Jaborska  (dmottolaatenvironmentnewjerseydotorg)  , Environment New Jersey, (609) 540-6609
Jay Corbalis  (jcorbalisatnjfuturedotorg)  , New Jersey Future, (609) 393-0008 ext. 110
New Jersey PIRG
Neysa Pranger  (nprangeratrpadotorg)  , Regional Plan Association, (917) 532-0567
Zoe Baldwin  (zoeattstcdotorg)  , Tri-State Transportation Campaign,  (609) 271-0778
Mary Barber (Maplewood Station) (646) 209-9469

Civic, environmental and planning groups today launched a major public outreach push in support of the Access to the Region’s Core project. Groups joined with elected officials at five NJ TRANSIT stations to hand out leaflets to thousands of morning rush-hour riders, urging them to speak up for the project by calling the Governor, signing giant postcards addressed to Governor Christie or logging on to a special We Need ARC website to express support of ARC. Some of the groups also unveiled newspaper ads in support of ARC, running this week in all major daily New Jersey papers.

The outreach efforts come as Governor Chris Christie and US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood continue to examine options to keep the project going following a shocking announcement in Trenton on October 7th that ARC would be halted in the face of potential cost over runs. The self-imposed deadline to make a decision on whether the project will be revived is this Friday, October 22nd.

The front of the leaflet handed to commuters provocatively reads, “Cancelling the new Hudson River rail tunnel will dig an even bigger hole for New Jersey.” The leaflet continues to debunk myths and list benefits of the project. The leaflet asks commuters to call Gov. Christie or send an e-postcard via We Need ARC.

The leaflets reflect newspaper quarter-page ads appearing today in the Star-Ledger and Times of Trenton on Tuesday and The Record, Asbury Park Press and Jersey Journal on Wednesday. The ad buy, paid for by Regional Plan Association, is approximately $25,000. Ads and leaflets were done by Robbett Advocacy Media of Greensfarms, Connecticut.

“There’s no better way to get the economy moving, provide the jobs we will need in the coming years and lay a foundation for growth than to invest in ARC,” said Bob Yaro, President, Regional Plan Association. “We hope the Governor hears this message loud and clear.”

The leaflets were handed out to thousands of commuters at Princeton Junction, Secaucus Junction, Maplewood, Newark Penn Station and New Brunswick by advocates along local elected officials supporting the project including Assemblyman (AM) Chivukula (New Brunswick), AM Prieto (Secaucus Junction), West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh (Princeton Junction with), AM Coutinho and East Ward Councilman Amador (Newark Penn Station), and Senator Richard Codey, AM Mila Jasey and AM John F. McKeon (Maplewood). 
The groups distributing the flyers to NJ TRANSIT commuters were Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New Jersey Future, Environment New Jersey, NJ PIRG and Regional Plan Association.

“We must tell Governor Christie how important ARC is to New Jersey’s future,” says Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “If the governor stops the project now, the costs to New Jersey’s residents, economy, and environment will be felt for generations.”

“New Jersey needs ARC,” said Tom Wright, executive director, Regional Plan Association. “Unless transit capacity under the Hudson River can grow with demand, New Jersey has a hard cap on its economic potential. With the 70,000 additional daily riders who would have used ARC, New Jersey would be more connected to New York City and the expanding global economy, companies and workers would continue locating in the Garden State, home construction would pick up, and the value of homes near transit stations would rise by an estimated $18 billion.”

“The Governor has a clear choice to make: more sprawl and more pollution or cleaner air and a healthy future,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Environment New Jersey executive director.

Said Peter Kasabach, Executive Director of New Jersey Future, “ARC is critical not only to New Jersey’s long-term transportation needs, but also to support the type of compact, transit-oriented development that will allow the state to accommodate new residents and businesses sustainably in the coming decades.”

“Without ARC, New Jersey commuters will be stuck in traffic for years to come,” said Jennifer Kim, NJPIRG advocate.

Governor Christie claimed on Friday, October 7th that he could not move forward with ARC because of potential budget overruns. The Governor’s decision drew strong criticism as the State would lose out on an astonishing $6 billion matching contributions from the federal government and Port Authority and have to immediately return $200 million in already-spent funds. Further, ARC’s far-reaching and well-defined benefits would have gone unrealized. The project will increase New Jerseyans’ access to Manhattan’s lucrative job market, raise tax revenues for state and local governments, boost property values, provide a more reliable and faster commute to hundreds of thousands of NJ TRANSIT commuters and drivers, and take thousands of cars off the road reducing congestion and reducing air pollution.

 

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478