Improving the Tri-State Transit Situation
Earlier today, RenewLV staff attended the meeting of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC), in Westfield, NJ. As mentioned in a previous Crossroads post, the RVRC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating safety and service improvements on the Raritan Valley line of the New Jersey Transit Rail Network. A large chunk of today’s meeting was devoted to project updates, including the ongoing Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Mass Transit Tunnel project. The new Mass Transit tunnel under the Hudson River will provide another much-needed connection between New Jersey and New York. The tunnel is expected to relieve some of the mass congestion that occurs in the so-called “trans-Hudson rail bottleneck,” and, moreover, provide an opportunity for the Raritan Valley line to connect directly to New York (currently, passengers on that line must switch trains at Newark, NJ).
While the meeting focused heavily on the potential for improving commuter connections between New York and New Jersey, the capital planner from NJ Transit offered a brief update on the transit study examining the congestion along the I-78 corridor. Part of this study is looking at the feasibility of extending the Raritan Valley line west from High Bridge, NJ, to Phillipsburg. Once the study findings are released later this year, it will be interesting to see how (and whether) the construction of the Mass Transit tunnel will impact transportation in western New Jersey and in the Lehigh Valley. Some speculate that the improved access to New York City will encourage New Jersey Transit to extend some of its rail lines, though NJ Transit officials have not made any formal statements on this matter.
What do you think will be the biggest advantage of the ARC Tunnel project? How (and why) do you think it will impact the Lehigh Valley? Post your comments below, or send us an e-mail.