Poll: even people in South Jersey support new Hudson River tunnel to NYC

A Quinnipiac University poll finds that 53 percent of registered New Jersey voters want a new rail tunnel to be built under the Hudson River to New York, but there’s opposition to raising the gas tax to pay for transportation projects.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says voters throughout the Garden State believe a new rail tunnel to New York Cityis a good idea.

“They think it will be an economic boon and of course it would be,” Carroll said. “We didn’t get around to ask any specific on the plans because there aren’t any specific plans now. But there will be unless New Jersey politicians are suicidal.”

Amtrak says a new tunnel must be built to avoid major congestion when existing tunnels might have to be shut down to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy.  In October Amtrak reported it needs to make $700 million in repairs to existing tunnels.  Fixing that without adding a new tube would cause serious delays on the Northeast Corridor for Amtrak customers and commuters.

About 58 percent of voters surveyed oppose raising the gasoline tax to replenish New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund that pays for road and mass transit improvements.  At 14.5 cents per gallon, the tax in New Jersey is far less than in all its neighoring states.  New York’s is 50 cents and Pennsylvania is 41.8 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Gov. Christie scrapped plans for a new Hudson River tunnel, saying New Jersey would get stuck with price overruns.  He ended up using money that had been earmarked for that project to refill the state’s nearly empty Transportation Trust Fund.  Now that fund is running on fumes.

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