RPA: Partial Hudson River Rail Tunnel shutdown would cause $16B in losses

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A partial shutdown of the Hudson River Rail Tunnel would result in $16 billion in losses to the national economy, according to an impact study by the Regional Plan Association.

Photo via gatewayprogram.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“More than half of this cost would come from the time lost by workers from longer daily commutes,” the 20-page report details.  “These wage costs alone are the equivalent to the loss of 33,000 jobs per year.”

“Added auto costs for those needing to drive, higher air fares, higher freight delivery costs, and costs associated with health and safety risks also contribute. The impacts would be greatest in New Jersey and New York, but they would reverberate throughout the Northeast and the U.S.”

The report says that the majority of the losses, $12.5 billion, come from passengers relying on another means of travel.

Other consequences outlined include 38,000 additional car crashes a year, which would also result in a $123 million liability for fatal crashes in a four-year time frame, and $7 billion in tax revenue losses between local, state and federal governments, the RPA wrote.

Furthermore, in Hudson County, residents could expect property values to deflate by $84.3 million over four years.

While certainly undesirable, that pales in comparison to the to the $477.7 million projected to be lost in Middlesex County property values.

In a statement, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reiterated what he’s said for many months: the time is now to fund the Gateway Tunnel project.

“This report is clear and decisive: New Jersey is sitting on a transportation ticking time bomb. Failing to complete construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel before the current dilapidated tunnels are forced to shut down would cripple our economy and create real hardships for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend each day on a safe and reliable transportation system,” he said.

“The latest RPA study outlines in unambiguous terms the havoc a Hudson rail tunnel shutdown will wreak on our regional and national economies in lost jobs, lost production, diminished revenues, and plummeting home values, senselessly putting at risk the livelihoods and economic security of hardworking families and small business owners.”

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