Yesterday, Gov. Christie ordered that the ARC Project, with its deep-cavern terminal, be shut down. Today, he met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and softened his position, agreeing to submit the issue to a study group from US DOT and NJ Transit.
Still, the Governor held his ground on the cost issue. He said: “The fact that the ARC project is not financially viable and is expected to dramatically exceed its current budget remains unchanged” in a statement reported in the Star-Ledger.
Proponents of the project as NJT proposes it (with a deep-cavern terminal) reacted positively to the announcement, hoping that it signals an opportunity to find enough money to fund the entire project.
The Lackawanna Coalition and its allies continue to push for the Moynihan/Penn Station First alternative, hoping that the pressure will now be on decision-makers to build their preferred alternative. Rail advocates maintain that directing new tunnels to an enhanced Penn Station will deliver the benefits associated with the project without the drawbacks of a deep-cavern terminal, and at an affordable cost.
The study group is due to report to Gov. Christie in two weeks.