Though the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee voted to release the resolution for further consideration, legislators said there were still too many concerns surrounding it.
Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Clifton) is the resolution’s primary sponsor.
According to the resolution, studies indicate that travel demand between Manhattan and New Jersey will increase by roughly 38 percent by 2030. The 7 Line, which is currently undergoing an extension on Manhattan’s West Side, would connect New Jersey riders to the major hubs of Grand Central Station, Times Square and eventually the area near Penn Station when construction is completed.
In New Jersey, the proposed extension would include stops in Hoboken and Secaucus and roughly account for an additional 128,000 riders per day, according to an April 2013 study conducted by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which was included in the resolution.
Committee chair and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) said that the extension is worth further consideration if only to continue looking for an alternative to the $8.7 billion Access to the Region’s Core project, a trans-Hudson rail tunnel that Gov. Chris Christie nixed in 2010.
Wisniewski said that while everything had been in place to move forward with the ARC project, Christie “chose to pull the rug out from underneath that.”
But Daniel O’Connell, a state legislative director for the United Transportation Union, testified before the committee that rather than diverting resources to extending the 7 Line, the state should instead look to support efforts “that get the biggest bang for the buck,” such as the Gateway Project and viable alternatives to the ARC project.
He said a priority should also be given over the project to exploring a one-seat ride route for NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, which currently requires passengers to change trains in Newark before continuing on to Manhattan.
That’s something Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains) said she could get behind, given that the Raritan Valley Line cuts through her district. Stender said legislators “have to keep the pressure on” about exploring that option.