So does this still sound like a win-win?
Maybe NJ does not "return" the $270 mil; the $3bill pie comes back - albeit distributed amongst NJ/NY/PA this time; Amtrak still gets their own "high speed" tunnel "sometime" in the future, and NJ gets access to mid town and GCT; while NYC gets a boom in the far-west real estate that they have been dreaming about all these years. And of course all politicians all around get to claim their own victories.
Ever since Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey killed an expensive plan for a new commuter rail tunnel to Manhattan, the Bloomberg administration has been working on an alternative: run the No. 7 subway train under the Hudson River.
The plan envisions the No. 7 stretching from 34th Street on the Far West Side of Manhattan to Secaucus, N.J., where there is a connection to New Jersey Transit trains. It would extend the New York City subway outside the city for the first time, giving New Jersey commuters direct access to Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and Queens, and to almost every line in the system.
Like the project scuttled by Mr. Christie, this proposed tunnel would expand a regional transportation system already operating at capacity and would double the number of trains traveling between the two states during peak hours. But it would do so at about half the cost, an estimated $5.3 billion, according to a closely guarded, four-page memorandum circulated by the city’s Hudson Yards Development Corporation.
Unlike the old project, the new plan does not require costly condemnation proceedings or extensive tunneling in Manhattan, because the city is already building a No. 7 station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, roughly one block from the waterfront. In July, a massive 110-ton tunnel boring machine completed drilling for the city’s $2.1 billion extension of the No. 7 line from Times Square to the new station.
City officials had initially hoped that they could recapture the $3 billion pledged by the federal government, but that no longer seems possible, and the project will most likely have to compete with others around the country for the money. A spokesman for Mr. LaHood declined to comment on the proposal on Tuesday.
Another obstacle is the lengthy environmental review required of such projects, but officials are hoping to be able to use much of the work already done for the tunnel that was killed.
And it is unclear whether New Jersey is willing to redirect to the No. 7 train project the money it had originally intended for the tunnel plan, which was known as Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC. “The issue again will come down to, what will Governor Christie say,” said Jeffrey M. Zupan, senior fellow for transportation of the Regional Plan Association.
It is very likely that the Port Authority would have to be involved, since it has condemnation powers in both New York and New Jersey, unlike the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the city’s subways.
Aside from relieving congestion on the rails, the proposal also would benefit New York’s real estate industry, because it would include an $800 million subway station at 10th Avenue and 42nd Street, an area with limited public transportation and a number of new residential towers. The station was part of the Bloomberg administration’s plan for the No. 7 extension, but was cut to trim costs.
And the project would almost certainly serve as a boon for the planned $15 billion Hudson Yards residential and office development, to be built on platforms over the West Side railyards. That project has been stymied by the recession and an absence of demand for new residential and commercial space.