Tunnel to Nowhere Might Become 7 to Secaucus

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010  |  Updated 12:05 PM EDT
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Tunnel to Nowhere Might Become 7 to Secaucus

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embers of labor unions hold a rally in support of the planned 'Access to the Region's Core' (ARC) rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York City October 19, 2010 in North Bergen, New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to kill the project due to budget constraints. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have deemed the Hudson River commuter tunnel project too expensive, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sees a chance for expansion.

The Bloomberg administration is now working on a plan to run the No. 7 subway line under the Hudson River -- stretching the route from the in-the-works subway station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue to Secaucus, N.J., where it could connect with NJ Transit trains, the New York Times reported this morning.

The plan would extend the subway out of New York City for the first time -- and also ease travel between the heavily trafficked corridors between the Garden State and Manhattan.

 

Similar to the scrapped tunnel plan, this proposal would double the number of trains traveling between the two states during rush hour -- but would do so at $5.3 billion.

According to the Times, the new plan is not as costly because it won't require expensive condemnations or extensive tunneling in Manhattan, because the city is currently building a No. 7 station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue on the far west side of the city.

Christie killed the $8.7 billion tunnel from New Jersey to Manhattan because of potential cost overruns.  Construction on that tunnel had already begun and NJ Transit had received some $271 million from the federal government.  But the governor cited the state's beleaguered budget and a lack of money from neighboring New York as insurmountable obstacles to moving forward. 

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said the decision was “a devastating blow to thousands of workers, millions of commuters and the state’s economic future.”

Last month, Amtrak said it wasn't interested in purchasing any NJ Transit work related to the project. It did say, however, that it was open to exploring ways to expand passenger rail capacity under the Hudson, provided NJ Transit "fully fund all costs associated with creating additional commuter train capacity."
 

"It's an "exciting idea" that has "been around for years" and was brought up again Tuesday afternoon in a conversation by NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel, MTA chief Jay Walder said today.  He added that there would have to be studies of user demand, environmental impact and operations before the plan could move forward.

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