$3B for Historic Mass Transit Tunnel

NEWARK, N.J. — Gov. Jon S. Corzine welcomed U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s $650 million “down payment” toward a federal funding commitment of $3 billion for the historic Mass Transit Tunnel.

LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff have notified Congress of the agency’s approval of a $1.35 billion Early Systems Work Agreement for the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Mass Transit Tunnel, money that will support the transit tunnel’s initial phases of construction.

Some $650 million of the $1.35 billion in the agreement is from federal sources, including $130 million in stimulus funds under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.  LaHood and Rogoff emphasized that the FTA is committed to providing a total of $3 billion in transit “New Starts” funding for the Mass Transit Tunnel over the project’s construction.

“This significant federal support has already helped us move forward into the construction phase of this historic infrastructure project, providing a boost to our state’s economy and saving jobs and creating jobs for our citizens,” Governor Corzine said.  “I look forward to working with the administration and with Secretary LaHood and Administrator Rogoff to build upon this initial agreement as work on the Mass Transit Tunnel continues to advance.”

The $8.7 billion Mass Transit Tunnel project, being built by N.J. Transit in partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, is expected to create and sustain 6,000 jobs throughout the construction of two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, an expanded New York Penn Station and other key improvements. The project’s long-term mobility benefits for the region also are expected to create 44,000 permanent jobs.

The Mass Transit Tunnel is the largest transit public works project in the nation. The transit tunnel will relieve the commuter rail bottleneck under the Hudson River, where the existing, 100-year-old rail tunnels are pushed beyond their functional capacity each day during morning and evening rush hours.

The Mass Transit Tunnel will more than double the number of trains that can travel between New Jersey and New York during peak hours, to 48 from 23, while also creating transfer-free, one-seat rides for travelers on 11 of N.J. Transit’s 12 rail lines.