Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Supports of Commuter Tunnel Begin to Get Loud
Monday, October 18, 2010
While Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was reviewing the fate of an $8.7 billion commuter tunnel under the Hudson River, tunnel proponents quietly lobbied to keep it alive. But the strategy didn't work. Christie announced he would kill the tunnel because of concerns of cost overruns. He reluctantly agreed to "review options" after U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood flew to Trenton to try and reverse the project's fate. Now project proponents are coming to life, staging rallies, running newspaper ads and leafletting commuters.
Labor supporters of the project say they'll hold "a major rally" Tuesday in North Bergen, where the ARC tunnel was under construction until Christie started to shut it down. Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, said in a statement, "This is an important issue, and the decision time is approaching."
Meanwhile, the Regional Plan Association, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and other pro-tunnel groups say they'll run newspaper ads and leaflet commuters to explain the tunnels "benefits," which they say including vastly reducing carbon emissions, increasing real estate values in New Jersey, doubling NJ transit capacity to New York and shaving 40 minutes off commutes.
They have LaHood as an ally, who has been a big backer of the project. At a ceremonial ground-breaking at Moynihan Station in Manhattan Monday, LaHood said he'd meet for a second time with Christie to "present the information" collected during the project review.
Neither New Jersey nor the U.S. DOT have released information about what options are under consideration.