NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880/AP) — Mayor Bloomberg isn’t giving up on a way to boost rail capacity between New York City and the Garden State.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

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WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with comments from Mayor Bloomberg

Following New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s cost-driven decision to put the brakes on a controversial Hudson River rail tunnel, administration officials told CBS 2 HD they’re considering extending the No. 7 subway train from a station currently being built on West 34th Street and running it across the Hudson River to Secaucus to connect with NJ Transit trains.

“Anything would help,” said commuter Don Rowlowski.

“People don’t want to sit on a train for two hours,” said Susan Schneider of Ridgewood.

On the $5.3-billion proposal, which would run the subway system outside the City for the first time, deputy mayor for economic development Robert Steel has been quoted as saying, “extending the 7-line to New Jersey could address many of the region’s transportation capacity issues at a fraction of the original tunnel’s cost, but the idea is still in its earliest stages.”

The plan would be about half the cost of the proposed Hudson River rail tunnel because the city is already digging a tunnel to run the subway from Times Square to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue, said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for Steel.

CBS 2HD’s Jay Dow couldn’t find one commuter who thought extending the 7 train and easing the burden on NJ Transit would be a bad idea, but also couldn’t find any commuters who thought the process would go smoothly.

“Knowing Christie, of course he’s going to come out swinging back,” said commuter Larry Meltzer.

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“I think it probably will not happen. New York and New Jersey don’t seem to work very well together, but I think it’s a great idea,” said commuter Cheryll Talbot.

Mike Drewniak, a spokesman for Governor Christie, said “since the decision ending the ARC tunnel project, the governor has said he is open to new ideas to solve the trans-Hudson River transportation dilemma. But any plausible plan would have to be fair to New Jersey, and split all costs equitably between benefitting jurisdictions.”

There are possible environmental hurdles to the idea. It’s a long review process, but officials were hoping to use work done for the canceled tunnel.

Before it goes anywhere, the plan would have to be supported by Christie, Bloomberg, an independent, and New York Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat.

New York’s U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, offered his support in obtaining federal funds to make the idea work.

“This is a bold idea that must be given serious and immediate consideration,” he said in a statement.

None of the stake holders has been briefed about the idea, Brent said. It emerged out of discussions among policymakers in Steel’s office, the city’s Department of Planning and the city’s Hudson Yards Development Corp. after Christie killed the plan for the so-called Access to the Region’s Core project.

The $8.7 billion project to construct a second rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York was 15 years in the making when Christie killed it on Oct. 27. New Jersey was expected to shoulder
$2.7 billion of the costs, plus overruns.

The federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had each committed $3 billion to the project.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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