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October 16, 2010

The Regional Plan Association, the well-known urban-planning organization, released a report Thursday that says for many New Jerseyans, train commuting time to Manhattan will be cut 16 to 30 minutes if and when the ARC tunnel is built.

The calculations are based on roundtrips: Depending what train line is taken, the specific time savings varies. The biggest commute reduction will likely be seen on the Raritan Valley line, which currently does not have any trains with a single-seat ride to Manhattan. But the RPA says the benefits will be across the board for commuters, even for those living closest to Manhattan. The ARC tunnel will eliminate the bottleneck of trains waiting to access the existing tunnel during peak travel times. For instance, the RPA estimates that the time it takes to travel from Newark Penn Station to Manhattan Penn Station will be cut 29%, or nearly 17 minutes, due to a break in the logjam.

Proponents of the tunnel say it would double the number of households living within 50 minutes of commuting time to Manhattan, where salaries are on average 60 percent higher than in New Jersey. It would also increase property values along the train lines.

To find out how your commute would be affected, check out the RPA’s interactive web tool.

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