NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Now that the federal government and Amtrak have agreed to pay half for new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney hopes a new corporation within the Port Authority can start work quickly.
“The ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) Tunnel that was canceled in New Jersey (in 2010), a lot of the things that were done, a lot of the engineering, the entrance to start it can be utilized for this,” Sweeney told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “So all the hours that were spent on the ARC, not all of them are going to be lost. And then it’s just getting the environmentals done and get moving, and the engineering and get moving.
“So there’s some things that we can utilize that we already paid for. So again, we should be able to get moving pretty quickly.”
The big question is how to pay for it, perhaps through a commuter surcharge of $1 or $2 per ticket.
“Before we start looking at surcharges, we’ve got to look at the Port Authority,” Sweeney said. “They have an enormous amount of money tied up into real estate. Before we looking at surcharges — and I’m sure that’s a possibility — but right now, the focus is getting it done.
The project will cost an estimated $20 billion for new rail tunnels. New York and New Jersey might have to come up with $10 billion and could seek federal low-interest loans.
The new rail tunnels could be open by 2030.