News: New York Senator Stirs Up Controversy
(Long Island, N.Y.)Reports have surfaced showcasing New York Senator Charles E. Schumer’s opinion on New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie’s decision to ask for $1.8 billion from the Port Authority for specific transit projects. The democratic senator from New York found it important to reprimand the republican New Jersey governor for using the money in such a manner, after the cancellation of the Trans-Hudson Passenger Rail Tunnel. The plug had been pulled on the project, known as the ACR tunnel, after construction had commenced in October, when Christie announced the termination.
The project originally had an estimated price tag of $8.7 billion and later increased up to $11 billion. For that reason, many loyal New Jersey constituents support Christie’s plan, deeming it responsible to end the project. Christie claimed that the Garden State simply couldn’t afford to keep up with the increasing costs, and that it was time to put an end to New Jersey’s habit of spending what it doesn’t have.
This project has taken on several names and has gone through several administrations over time. It goes as far back as 1995 during the administration of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. This time around, the project was said to start in 2009 and end in 2018, and be a part of the New Jersey Transit.
The tunnel would have doubled the amount of trains from New Jersey to Midtown, Manhattan and was expected to have connections to Penn Station. Obstacles interfered in the projected construction of those connections, some of which were of an environmental nature. An area set for construction was in a part of the Hudson River located on a Superfund site, which is an EPA safeguard for the presence of hazardous substances.
Originally, Christie supported the project, and went ahead with the required joint approval of the New York State governor. New Jersey needed to contribute $2.7 billion; the Port Authority and Federal Government contributed $3 billion a piece. Nonetheless, Schumer has accused Christie of spending money to fill budget gap.
Schumer swears that there’s a bigger picture involved, and that the construction of the ACR Tunnel will bring about a great influx in Tri-State revenue. With that being the case, many New Jersey residents have suggested that New York fork over money to pay for the increase in cost and unexpected expenses that have raised the estimated price by $2.3 billion. Many wonder what business Schumer has in commenting on an issue that more directly involves the New York State Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.
Cuomo would have to agree with Christie’s plan and has chosen to remain quiet for the time being. In the past he has suggested using money for other projects, such as fixing the Belt Parkway. Cuomo isn’t the only one with other plans. The Bloomberg administration has gone as far to offer an alternative project.
With less cost than a tunnel, a second design was suggested by NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It would be constructed as a NYC Subway extension and would venture the city’s subway system outside the New York borders for the first time in NYC history. A direct route would be designed from Times Square to the Garden State, connecting popular stops such as Grand Central Station and places in Queens. Perhaps joining NYC in on the deal isn’t such a bad idea, being that the costs can then be severed among three separate entities instead of two. The cost of this, however, might be an issue of legislation and control when it comes to repairs and fare collection.