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|October 16th, 2004, 04:58 AM||#1|
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Proposed rail tunnel would link NJ to Manhattan by 2014
By CLEMENTE LISI Transit Reporter
October 14, 2004 -- A proposed rail tunnel linking New Jersey to Manhattan would give passengers a no-transfer ride into Penn Station by 2014, officials said yesterday.
The project would be part of a larger effort to expand the region's commuter rail system.
The Hudson River tunnel project — dubbed "Access to the Region's Core" — is expected to cost as much as $5 billion and is part of a "larger blueprint" that would create a cohesive regional mass transit system.
Riders who currently take the Bergen, Main and Pascack lines would get a direct ride into the city with the help of a loop at the Secaucus Junction without having to change trains to get into the city.
"People who work in the city do not want to transfer," said Rich Roberts, NJ Transit's chief planner. "They don't want to get out of their seats. They want a one-seat ride."
Roberts said the two-track tunnel project, which is being coordinated by New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority, would reduce traffic and make it easier for people to get around New Jersey and into the city.
"This is a great project that takes pressure off buses and reduces traffic on the roads coming in and out of Manhattan," he said.
The new tunnel would also make it easier to connect to Xanadu — a 104-acre site at the Meadowlands that will house a sports and entertainment complex slated to open in 2007 — to Manhattan.
Riders could take the proposed Hudson-Bergen Light Rail extension from the Meadowlands and transfer at the Tonnelle Avenue Station in North Bergen, then take trains to Penn Station.
"This would link New Jersey's premier sports complex with Penn Station and Times Square," Roberts said.
The plan is part of a larger mass transit effort in New Jersey that includes a 11/2-mile connection to link the Pascack Valley Line in East Rutherford to a new Meadowlands station in 2007. The project includes a 11/2-mile connector between the Pascack Valley Line in East Rutherford to a new Meadowlands Station.
The $150 million spur, which will be funded by the Port Authority, would connect riders in northern New Jersey to Xanadu by 2007.
The plan also calls for using two freight lines for passenger service by running self-powered diesel trains along the tracks, which stretch north in one direction to Tenafly and northwest in the other direction to Hawthorne.
Another $200 million project would allow trains to run without the help of a locomotive because a series of small engines would be affixed to the wheels of passenger cars.
Roberts said NJ Transit will lobby the feds to help pay for the projects.
"We're looking at a variety of sources," he said. "Federal funds have always been part of our capital program."