Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NJ committee: Subway to Hoboken OK by us

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New Jersey's Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, offered the first substantive Garden State backing for a proposed No. 7 subway extension under the Hudson River from Manhattan to New Jersey.

The committee passed a resolution in support of the No. 7 extension underneath the Hudson River to connect with recommended stops in Hoboken and Secaucus Junction Station on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The resolution posits that such an extension would generate 128,000 daily riders.

The No. 7 extension to New Jersey has been backed by outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a feasibility report issued last spring by the city's Economic Development Corp., conducted by Parsons Brinckerhoff, showed the extension to be feasible from a ridership viewpoint.

The Real Estate Board of New York, a powerful interest, also has voiced support for the proposal. The extension also has the backing of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers (NJ-ARP), the statewide rail advocacy group. Hoboken officials privately have expressed interest in the idea.

Numerous New York-based groups and officials object to the proposal, arguing that subway extensions are needed in many other places within the five boroughs and also asserting that New Jersey interests with any fiscal power have shied from committing any significant funding to such a plan.

But backers of the extension on both sides of the Hudson River assert that a No. 7 extension carries myriad benefits, including offering rail and bus riders throughout northern New Jersey a direct route to Grand Central Terminal and Manhattan's East Side, bypassing the congested Lincoln Tunnel Express Bus Lane (XBL), which deposits riders on Manhattan's West Side.

New Jersey rail advocates expressed pleasure with the committee move, but noted Gov. Chris Christie's support for the No. 7 extension has been tepid and passive at best.

Work on the $2.4 billion, 1.5-mile No. 7 Line extension from its current terminus at Times Square to a new terminal station at West 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue is nearly complete. Revenue service is expected to commence on this new line segment by midyear 2014.