PRESS STATEMENT

Contact: Kate Slevin, Zoe Baldwin
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
P: 212-268-7474, 609-271-0778

For immediate release: June 8, 2009

GROUPS APPLAUD ARC GROUNDBREAKING; CALL FOR STRONGER FEDERAL COMMITMENT TO THE PROJECT

A broad coalition of environmental, civic, transportation and planning organizations applauded the groundbreaking for the Access to the Region’s Core passenger rail tunnel today and urged the federal government to fully fund the project. The project’s groundbreaking was held at Tonnelle Ave. this morning.

ARC will construct two new tubes under the Hudson River, doubling transit service between New Jersey and Manhattan. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NJTransit have contributed $5.7 billion to the project and are seeking $3 billion from the federal government.

“Build it and they will come! In ARC’s case, transit riders are already there and are eager for the enhanced transit service this project will provide,” said Kate Slevin, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “With local financing in place and construction underway, now all we need is a full funding grant agreement from the federal government.”

“This critical investment will benefit not only New Jersey residents, but also the entire region, making it more livable and more competitive.” said Carlos Rodrigues, New Jersey Director for Regional Plan Association.

"Investing in our cities and in efficient transit relieves pressure on sprawling development westward into the Highlands, source of the water supply for the same cities.  Building the tunnel makes sense for our economy and future of the metropolitan region," said Julia Somers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.

The groups said the project will expand our transit network, promote green jobs, and clean the air.

“ARC will generate 6,000 construction related jobs annually and proves that job creation and environmental awareness go hand in hand,” said David Pringle, Campaign Director for New Jersey Environmental Federation.  "This project is the first and key step in improving mass transit between Washington DC and Boston and maximizing the commensurate economic, social and environmental benefits."  

“The new tunnel will enable smarter growth in New Jersey,” said Peter Kasabach, Executive Director of New Jersey Future, “This project will benefit millions of residents who live near NJTransit train stations, while simultaneously taking cars off the road and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 67,000 tons.”

The groups applauded Governor Corzine, New Jersey’s Congressional delegation, NJTransit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, along with New York elected officials for their leadership and cooperation.

“This project would not have moved forward without unprecedented regional coordination,” said Dianne Brake, President of PlanSmart NJ. “ARC proves that bi-state coordination is not a thing of the past.”

“With 75% of New Jersey residents living within file miles of a train station, this project will benefit most residents in the state. Congratulations to Governor Corzine for investing in a project that will make our state more livable,” said Michele Byers, Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

A number of environmental and planning groups, including Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New Jersey Future, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, American Littoral Society, Association of NJ Environmental Commissions, Edison Wetlands Association, NJ Audubon, NJ Conservation Foundation, NJ Highlands Coalition, PlanSmart NJ, and Trust for Public Land, publicly announced a joint platform to guide spending of New Jersey’s stimulus funds. The platform included strong support for ARC. ARC will receive $130 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but ultimately will require a larger federal commitment of nearly $3 billion.