The 7 Train to Secaucus Is Off the Tracks and the Table Says MTA Chief

Still the end of the line. (Gothamist)

After Chris Christie stamped out commuters dreams of a faster trip to Midtown by killing the ARC Tunnel, the Bloomberg administration pulled one of its usual gambits and floated the unusual idea of extending the already extending 7-Train from the Far West Side all the way to Secaucus. Now Joe Lhota, Governor Cuomo’s man at the MTA, says it’s never going to happen.

At a forum hosted by the New York Building Congress yesterday, Mr. Lhota said he did not think extending the No. 7 line under the Hudson was a viable option, according to The Journal.

“I know there’s an effort afoot to try to get the subway system to go to New Jersey,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a hotel auditorium full of construction industry executives and government officials. “I told the mayor this, I told the deputy mayor this: I can’t see this happening in our lifetime.”

Mr. Lhota went on to say there was “not a chance” the line would be extended to New Jersey, and a person familiar with the issue said that position had been settled within the MTA for at least “a month or so.”

Mr. Lhota prefers an Amtrak plan for new tunnels leading to a new station to be created just south of the current Penn Station, called the Gateway Project, which was proposed in the wake of the ARC axing. It is still years if not decades off, but will hopefully improve prospects for high speed rail in the region.

The Journal‘s new transit reporter Ted Mann also offers an interesting take in his report on what it says about Mayor Bloomberg and Chairman Lhota:

The back-and-forth appeared to reveal a difference in styles rather than a fractious relationship between Messrs. Bloomberg and Lhota. Both men are known as clear-eyed managers who rarely mince words. But Mr. Bloomberg is often drawn to the ambitious idea that would remake the cityscape and challenge convention. He expended significant political capital in a failed 2008 bid to toll drivers entering Manhattan and channel the revenue into mass transit.

Mr. Lhota, a budget chief and deputy mayor under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has a reputation for practicality about his vast agency’s finances, and an occasionally sharp tongue in expressing his views. (He apologized last month to a state senator who wanted a ban on food in subways after accusing the lawmaker of doing “nothing.”)

So much for visionary thinking.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC

The 7 Train to Secaucus Is Off the Tracks and the Table Says MTA Chief