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March 17, 2003
Record Editorial Summary
According to a March
17, 2003 Record Editorial, mass transit is the key to Meadowland Projects. With a
trio of billion dollar projects in the works there are great expectations for jobs,
recreation, office space, hotels, housing and shopping. But the biggest roadblock may be
the the thousands of more cars on Route 3 and the NJ Turnpike.
The $1.3 billion Xanadu is expected to generate 12,000 office jobs and another 6,000
entertainment and retail jobs. The Encap which includes four 18 hole golf courses,
two hotels, office space, 2,000 housing units may provide 4,000 jobs and thousands more
living in the new housing. The Secaucus rail transfer station will include five
office towers, 600 room hotel and 150,000 sq.ft. of office space.
Each project proposes transportation upgrades, but is it enough?
Xanadu provides $65 million for road improvements (additional lane for Rt.120 S, and new
service road for Rt. 120 N), but no money for mass transit. Encap calls for a new
stop on the Bergen Line and possibly another rail link on the Main Line, but provides no
details. The Secaucus Rail Transfer Station includes $235 million for a new Eastern
Spur Turnpike interchange with six ramps and 9-lane toll plaza, but what about the
additional NJ Turnpike volume?
For three decades, promises to build a rail line into the sports complex have gone
unfilled. Without rail connections mass traffic jams cannot be avoided
Regional planners are examining the projected increased traffic, particularly Route 3 and
NJ Turnpike. The NJ Meadowlands Commission has a new computer modeling program that can
factor in the additional traffic and predict what improvements should be made. NJ Turnpike
planners have said they are taking into account the expected increased traffic flow.
NJSEA call transportation the most important aspect of Xanadue and that
sports-complex and Encap planners are discussing ways to bring rail to both projects.
Key players are now discussing developing a single suitable rail pan.
Since transportation upgrades will benefit Xanadu and Encap, both projects should be
required to pay their fair share towards mass transit.
If Nets and Devils stay at the Arena (instead of moving to Newark), the additional
revenues could help bring rail service to the sports complex.
The Record concluded,: "Xanadu, Encap, and the Secaucus transfer are billion dollar
projects that have been described as economic engines that will power the region for
decades to come. But if those economic engines can't leave the parking garages
because of far-ranging traffic backups, how much good are they?"