Meanwhile, the Economic Viability of NJ is at Stake
One of the most important things happening in the United States right now is getting a trivial amount of press. As a 30-day moratorium to investigate cost overruns comes to a close, it’s becoming clear that New Jersey governor Chris Christie is seriously considering killing the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project, which will double the number of trains per hour that can travel from New Jersey to Manhattan. Currently the tunnels used for this purpose operate at 100% capacity many hours every day, with the trains themselves at 100% capacity. It is impossible for any more people to commute into Penn Station from New Jersey at normal hours than currently do. Since Amtrak uses the same tunnels, it is also impossible at peak hours for any more people to take the train from Philly to Boston, say, or Providence to Washington, than currently do. Given the total economic dependency of northern New Jersey on Manhattan and the immense economic importance of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to the entire Eastern United States, you’d think doubling capacity at this bottleneck would be an obvious thing to do. Especially if the federal government has already committed to the project the largest single transit-related grant in its history.
But think of how many highways you can build if you pass on the federal grant and cap northern New Jersey’s economic growth for decades! A small price to pay for ensuring that New Jersey continues to have the 4th-lowest gas tax in the nation!
…it’s arguably the worst policy decision ever made by the government of New Jersey — and that’s saying a lot.
Update: He’s done it.