Tunnel Debate Continues

New York MTA Chairman Jay Walder reportedly said on October 13 (at a Crain’s Business Breakfast Forum) that if New Jersey doesn’t want the $3 billion allocated for the ARC tunnel, the MTA will be looking to secure some of the funds for its own needs. (Reported on WNYC.)  Meanwhile, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) held a press conference at Newark Penn Station on October 14 to unveil a new study by the Regional Plan Association.  The study says that the tunnel would improve NJT’s on-time performance and is essential for regional growth  (Asbury Park Press, The Record).  Sen. Lautenberg has also been quoted as saying he’s in contact with a large New York financial firm regarding possible private financing for the tunnel (Star-Ledger online, reported Oct. 13).

The Lackawanna Coalition believes that a new tunnel is needed, but not in its present “deep cavern” configuration; the tunnel should instead lead to Penn Station, a much more flexible arrangement that would advance regional transportation.  The Coalition disputes the study’s conclusion that the “deep cavern” configuration would speed up travel; the long times required for riders to access a station 180′ below street level would actually lead to an increase in overall travel time.