The New Jersey Congressional Delegation today sent a letter to the US. Department of Transportation (USDOT) seeking relief of a $271 million charge the federal government seeks to impose on New Jersey for the now-canceled Access to the Region's Core (ARC) project.
In a letter addressed to USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Smith, the Dean of the N.J. congressional delegation, and the other 14 members of the Garden State's delegation pointed out that Amtrak is planning the design of a new "Gateway" tunnel, which could use design data developed for ARC. Additionally, such a hefty penalty would endanger construction of and construction jobs for future transit projects.
"The delegation has come together in a bipartisan way to make this request," said Smith. "The taxpayers of New Jersey should not be penalized. Paying this huge sum of money would idle or eliminate other important transit projects for the New York-New Jersey region."
Commuter rail traffic between New Jersey and New York is expected to double over the next number of years, making a new trans-Hudson crossing extremely important.
"It's essential that we as a state delegation keep working together with USDOT to finds ways to help improve the transit situation in the New York-New Jersey area," Smith said. "North Jersey is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, and public transit infrastructure projects there not only foster economic development, but reduce congestion and pollution by keeping cars off the road."