The Bergen Arches are a currently unused 4-track rail tunnel (Erie Cut) that passes through the Palisades in Jersey City. Many politicians and transportation bureaucrats want to build a highway through the Arches in order to connect Exit 14C of the Turnpike and various Meadowlands sports arenas to Tonnelle Circle and the downtown Jersey City waterfront. It would be supplemented by reconstruction of depressed State Highway 139. We understand that state traffic engineers do not plan to replace the roof (upper deck) of Rt. 139 in Jersey City Heights, thereby dividing the city with a great trench. Such a Bergen Arches Highway would seriously worsen air pollution, increase traffic congestion, and degrade the quality of urban life. New Jersey is already in non-compliance with the federal Clean Air Act. Instead, we support passenger and freight rail service through the Arches. A detailed proposal by CBT (Committee for Better Transit) for diesel light rail through the Arches is included on this website
Unfortunately, without seriously considering other options (including mass transit) many of our local political leaders have prematurely jumped on the Bergen Arches highway bandwagon. Among these are Senator Lautenberg, Congressman Menendez, Hudson County Executive Janiszewski, and Jersey City Mayor Schundler.
Mayor Schundler has already decided, rejecting widespread public opposition, that there will be a highway. His rubber-stamp City Council awarded a $65,000 contract to Fairfield-based HNTP Corp. to do a conceptual engineering study in June 1998. The Council appropriated $45,000 in August 1998 to hire Hazel Gluck of the Trenton consulting firm, Shaw-Gluck, to lobby for more money for the Bergen Arches Highway. Gluck is an influential Trenton insider and close political friend of Governor Whitman.
We believe that there are better ways to develop Jersey City and other parts of Hudson County, without causing more environmental, social, and economic destruction. We expect to publicly explore those development alternatives.