Response to Announcement on the ARC Tunnel Project
Peter Kasabach, Executive Director, (609) 393-0008 ext. 104
New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach released the following statements in response to today’s announcement that Gov. Chris Christie will withdraw funding from the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel project:
The decision made today to withdraw funding from the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel project will have long-term negative consequences — not only for the state’s transportation network, but for its land-use patterns as well.
New Jersey is already the most heavily developed state in the nation, and future growth is dependent on a transportation system that can accommodate new residents and businesses. The ARC tunnel would have allowed NJ Transit, which is already operating at peak-hour capacity, to double daily ridership between New Jersey and New York. This, in turn, would have spurred economic growth and development along New Jersey’s rail corridors — the kind of sustainable, transit-oriented development that is efficient for businesses and allows people to have shorter commutes and more choices about how they get around.
Without the tunnel, new growth will be stunted or pushed elsewhere. Without additional transit capacity, future growth and development will necessarily be automobile-oriented — pushing sprawl farther south and west, worsening traffic congestion, increasing the cost of building and maintaining our roadways, and consuming large swaths of New Jersey’s remaining open spaces. Meanwhile, the kind of sustainable development that should be happening in New Jersey will instead take place in Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut, where transit access to Manhattan is expanding.
Withdrawing funding from the ARC tunnel project passes up an enormous opportunity to promote smart growth — and leaves the state susceptible to significant long-term detrimental consequences to our economic competitiveness, environment and quality of life. New Jersey cannot afford to be penny-wise and pound foolish. We urge all parties — the governor, the Legislature, the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — to work together for the next 90 days to come up with a plan that enables this critically important project to move forward.
The ARC tunnel project was 20 years in the making. It deserves more than a 30-day review before being abandoned completely. The future of New Jersey depends on it.