Streams

Matthew Schuerman

Editor, WNYC

Matthew Schuerman appears in the following:

MTA Restores Some Express Bus Service

Monday, October 25, 2010

The MTA says it cut too deeply when it eliminated dozens of bus lines in June. And now, the agency wants to add more frequent bus service on nine of the lines that remained in place, because they're getting too crowded.

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Another Day of Uncertainty for ARC

Monday, October 25, 2010

(New York — Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was half-expected to make his "final" final announcement on the fate of the Access to the Region's Core train tunnel under the Hudson River, but Michael Drewniak, his spokesman, says there won't be anything today. Is that good news or bad for transit watchers and supporters of the project?

Back on Oct. 8, Christie agreed to spend another two weeks looking at ways to salvage the ARC project—and for those doing the math, that time period expired Friday. But the governor's aides say that wasn't a deadline for an announcement, and that Christie has been studying the alternatives since then, including those put forth by the head of NJ Transit, Jim Weinstein and a working group made up of federal and state officials.

Of course, the confirmation Friday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that ARC could indeed go billions of dollars over budgetand Christie's  reaction—are not giving supporters of the project much hope that Christie will change his mind. Tomorrow is, however, another day.

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New ARC Estimates Embolden Christie

Friday, October 22, 2010

(New York -- Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) Governor Chris Christie is taking new federal estimates of the Hudson River train tunnel as confirmation the project’s way off budget.

“Secretary LaHood confirmed today what we knew two weeks ago,” Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, said in an e-mail. “The ARC Tunnel project is over budget and puts New Jersey taxpayers at risk of being saddled with billions of dollars in added costs.”

LaHood earlier today released revised federal estimates that put the likely cost for the Access to the Region’s Core Tunnel between $9.775 billion to $12.708 billion.

That’s $1 billion to $4 billion over the $8.7 budget for the project.

That’s still a little shy of Christie’s contention, as voiced earlier this week that the tunnel is “running $2 to $5 billion over its original budgeted estimate.”

(Christie’s office says he is counting the $775 million needed to redo the Portal Bridge, a necessary component. Still, the bridge was never included in the $8.7 billion estimate.)

But it’s pretty close.

LaHood’s statement though emphasized the low end of that range.

“DOT is committed to working together through the life of the project to keep costs down to the lowest estimate,” he said.

Christie, meanwhile, is emphasizing the high end.

“Critics who seem to be using the moment for political advantage need to answer the question that remains today and was brought into focus by Secretary LaHood: how would they pay for potentially billions of dollars in cost overruns?” his press secretary said.

Still, Christie’s expected to spend this weekend studying recommendations from the federal and state working group that was set up two weeks ago.

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LIRR Construction Raises Fears of Major Traffic Jams

Friday, October 22, 2010

This weekend, prepare to see the busiest commuter railroad in the country without two-thirds of its service.

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Federal Government Releases ARC Tunnel Estimates: Projects Up to $4 Billion Overruns

Friday, October 22, 2010

The federal government has publicly revised its estimate for how much the Hudson River tunnel might cost. This comes two weeks after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled the planned train tunnel citing federal estimates that the project could cost up to $5 billion over budget.

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Will the ARC Transit Tunnel Decision be Postponed?

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was expected to make his final decision on the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC)  train tunnel under the Hudson River Friday, but it’s increasingly unclear whether that will happen.

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NJ Dems: Christie Pulled ARC Tunnel Numbers 'Out of Thin Air'

Thursday, October 21, 2010

WNYC

A top New Jersey Democrat says he's combed through the hundreds of pages that led Governor Chris Christie to dump the A.R.C. train tunnel under the Hudson River and found no justification for it.

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NJ Dems: Governor Christie Pulled Transit Tunnel Numbers "Out of Thin Air"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

(New York -- Matthew Schuerman, WNYC)  A top New Jersey Democrats says he's combed through the hundreds of pages that led Governor Chris Christie to dump the ARC train tunnel under the Hudson River and found no justification for it.

"The documents provided by the governor’s own administration fail to provide any justification for the governor’s claim of billions in cost overruns on the tunnel project," Assemblyman John Wisniewski, head of the Assembly's Transportation Committee said in a press release this afternoon. “That claim seems as though it was simply pulled out of thin air by the governor."

Wisniewski got roughly 400 pages of documents Wednesday from the governor's office through a freedom of information request. The Democrat said that three reports on cost estimates that were included state, "The overall project remains within budget," and repeat that the budget remains at $8.7 billion.

Christie, a Republican, canceled the tunnel two weeks ago, saying that internal reports pointed towards as much as $5 billion in cost overruns  and that he wasn't about to pass those costs on to New Jersey taxpayers.

Christie's office hasn't responded to a request for comment. Those wishing to pore through the documents themselves can find them on the assemblyman's web site.

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m. : Christie's office says the documents that Wisniewski reviewed are only the first batch of many that he will receive under his information request.

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LIRR Riders Face Major Weekend Disruptions

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The LIRR will run just one-third the number of trains it usually does this week and large parts of the network will be out of service completely, to be replaced with subways or shuttle buses. The same disruptions will occur the following weekend.

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Admission Fee for September 11 Museum?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Twenty bucks to get into the Met, MoMA -- and the September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center?

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Park Rehab Ten Years in the Making

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Residents of the Lower East Side and the East Village have been waiting for almost ten years to get East River Park between Jackson Streets and 12th Street back in tact. And it’s still not finished.

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Parts of New York City Earn Federal Disaster Declaration After September Storms

Thursday, October 14, 2010

President Barack Obama has formally declared parts of New York City a disaster area because of the tornados and severe storms that ripped through Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island last month.

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Parts of City Earn Disaster Declaration Following September Storms

Thursday, October 14, 2010

President Barack Obama has formally declared parts of New York City a disaster area because of the tornados and severe storms that ripped through Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island last month.

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MTA Working on Better Service Advisories

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Even the chairman of the MTA forgets to check for subway diversions before he goes out on weekends.

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Christie To Take Another Look at Hudson Commuter Train Tunnel

Friday, October 08, 2010

A day after cancelling a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he'll take another look at it. Christie promised a two-week review of several options that could salvage the tunnel after meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. But the Republican governor insisted the project was "financially not viable" and likely to exceed its budget.

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Christie: I Haven't Reviewed Final Tunnel Numbers

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

WNYC

Speaking at a hospital ribbon-cutting in Newark, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is just returning from a multi-day midwest campaign swing with fellow Republicans, says he hasn't had a chance to meet with his staff or review the final numbers on the ARC commuter train tunnel from New Jersey to New York.

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Straphangers Say Mild Improvement in Subway Service

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Despite widespread service cuts, the subway system has gotten mildly better. That's according to the Straphangers Campaign, which says the subway's gotten a little cleaner, a little more reliable, and its announcements are clearer this year compared to the year before.

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Just How Bad Were the Subways in 1985?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

WNYC

If you think the subways are late, dirty and expensive now, imagine what it was like 25 years ago. In honor of the Straphangers' Campaign's latest report on the State of the Subways we took a look at one of the earliest documents the organization produced.

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ARC Funding: What's at Stake

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

(New York -- Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) New Jersey never put up much of its own money towards the ARC Tunnel. And yet Governor Chris Christie seems poised to cancel the project because of money concerns.

Out of the tunnel’s $8.7 billion budget, New Jersey was contributing just $2.7 billion. Even that figure overstates the case, however. According to transportation officials, only $1.25 billion would come from New Jersey sources: the tolls collected by the NJ Turnpike Authority. Another billion and change comes from the federal government’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), according to transportation officials.

If, or when, the tunnel’s canceled, New Jersey could divert the $1.25 billion in turnpike tolls easily—even to help out the state’s ailing Transportation Trust Fund. Christie will also be able to spend the CMAQ money on other road and bridge projects—although transportation sources say the money will have to be used in accordance with federal regulations, which would rule out its use for the trust fund.

The other $6 billion, contributed equally by the Port Authority and the Federal Transit Administration, is money slated specifically for the ARC Tunnel. Transportation sources say that Christie will have to sacrifice all of that money should he cancel the tunnel. However, presumably some Port Authority projects would take place in New Jersey.

Christie’s stated concern all along, however, was what New Jersey would do if the tunnel ended up costing more than $8.7 billion. According to one legislative source, the current agreement with the Federal Transit Administration calls for the Port Authority and the state of New Jersey to be jointly responsible.

The bottom line: Christie gets loses $6 billion in free money. But he gets to spend a different $2.25 billion on roads and bridges, all the while limiting his liability for cost overruns.

He also wouldn’t need to increase the gas tax to bail out the Transportation Trust Fund,thereby protecting his reputation as a fiscal conservative.

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NJ Lawmakers Reach a Deal on State-Backed Road Projects

Monday, October 04, 2010

New Jersey legislators approved a $1.7 billion bond deal on Monday that should send thousands of construction workers back to their jobs.

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