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Trans-Hudson rail tunnel project scrapped

08 Oct 2010

USA: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie halted the 'Access to the Region's Core' project to increase commuter rail capacity across the Hudson River on October 7, saying the cost of the $8·7bn project centred on a 5·5 km twin-bore tunnel could increase to more than $11bn, and possibly as much as $14bn.

'I have made a pledge to the people of New Jersey that on my watch I will not allow taxpayers to fund projects that run over budget with no clear way of how these costs will be paid for', said Christie.

'Considering the unprecedented fiscal and economic climate our state is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for billions in cost overruns. The ARC project costs far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this project.'

Planned for completion in 2018, ARC included the Trans-Hudson tunnel, 14·5 km of track, improved signalling and a subterranean terminal under 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan, adjacent to Penn Station. It would double rail capacity across the Hudson, where the existing twin bores are at capacity during the peaks.

Funding sources included a capped $3bn each from the federal government and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, with the remainder coming from the state of New Jersey, which has overall management control.

Tunnelling work was already underway and $600m had been spent or committed. In September Christie ordered a 30-day halt for a financial review after the Federal Transit Administration expressed concern that the cost might increase.

NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein accepted that in the current economic climate 'the ARC project is just not a financially viable project that we can responsibly move forward.'