New York City Subway to Extend to…New Jersey?

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) pulled the plug on a planned railway tunnel under the Hudson that would have linked New York and New Jersey last month.  The project, which would have been paid for by the federal government, New York and New Jersey, would have likely gone far over budget, for which the state of New Jersey would have been on the hook.

In the wake of the failed project, there’s been talk of extending the No. 7 train to Secaucus, NJ.  The MTA has been in the process of extending the line all the way to one block away from the Hudson.  This would be the first time that a New York City subway line would go outside of the city.  Why not just take it all the way across the river?  It would be cheaper than having to build a full scale tunnel.

I’ll tell you why: The system is BROKEN.  What we have as it is doesn’t work.  Service has deteriorated markedly over the course of the past year, dozens of subway and bus lines have been eliminated, fares are set to rise yet again in January and there’s absolutely no sign in sight of anything getting better.  Why, in the name of God, should we try and make such a system not only larger, but send it into another state?  How about we try fixing what we have before extending lines to Jersey?

I don’t think this will actually happen.  It’s one of those expensive projects that’s kind of sexy to think about, and since mass transit’s hot these days, it’s going to get some press.  But, putting these projects together, either in technical, political or financial terms, is notoriously difficult.  To illustrate to those of you who do not live in New York how hard it is to build a new subway line in New York City, consider this:  the Second Avenue Subway line was being planned when Babe Ruth was playing for the Yankees.  It’s not scheduled to open until 2016.  And though it’s ‘scheduled,’ that not a guarantee that it will.


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