The Regional Planning Association is out with a new report that makes recommendations to improve mobility and sustainability in the New Jersey, New York, Connecticut area over the next 25 years.

According to Kate Slevin, vice president of state programs and advocacy for the Association, one major proposal is the creation of a Trans-Regional Express, or T-REX mass transit agency that would link the three states.

“We are calling for greater integration of New Jersey Transit with the New York City and Long Island and Hudson Valley area,” she said.

“You could greatly improve commutes for riders. You could allow more places in New Jersey to be served, and you could also better integrate and provide more affordable fares for people to get around the region.”

Image: ORG Permanent Modernity

Slevin said “the idea is that if you lived somewhere like Newark you would have faster service to somewhere on Long Island.”

She stressed a crucial element of this idea “is the construction of the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River. This has been called the most important transit project in our country.”

She said without this new rail tunnel the regional economy and the environment will really suffer.

“The the hope is the Gateway project could be extended past Manhattan into Queens, so people from New Jersey could have running service through Penn Station over into Queens to get connected to other areas of the region.”

Another proposal calls for a new National Park to be established, in one part of Northern New Jersey.

She explained in the coming decades there will be increased flooding, so they’re recommending “a new National Park model that really looks to address climate change, and we’re recommending that part of the Meadowlands be transformed into a National Park.”

She said the report also focuses on improving governance in New Jersey.

"We need proper funding for NJ Transit, ensuring we have money for both operations and for capital expansions, so new projects, new construction projects, and new capacity for riders.”

The report also calls for overhauling the structure of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and building a second bus terminal under the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

A new bus terminal under the Javits Convention Center would relieve pressure at the existing bus terminal on Eighth Avenue. It could accommodate intercity buses and some commuter service, as the Far West Side of Manhattan grows into a major office district. This rendering is just one way the new facility could be designed. Source: Perkins Eastman

“People who were coming into Manhattan would have the option of going to two different locations.”

She noted the Regional Planning Association report does not suggest any ways to fund these ideas.

“We live in a very complex region and we’re looking at a long-term perspective, trying to provide more options for people,” she said.

“We are really a region with many challenges, and there are things we can do to improve access and mobility and make the entire region work better.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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