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The ARC Effect: Improving Transit Connections to New York City Can Boost Home Prices, Improve Job Accessibility, and Generate Tax Revenue for Communities

A new report by the Regional Planning Association (RPA) confirms the tremendous economic benefits that public transportation can bring to communities.  Construction of the trans-Hudson River tunnel as part of the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project could potentially raise housing values by $18 billion and generate an additional $375 million in property tax revenues for communities with stations along lines utilizing the tunnel.  Households living within two miles of a transit station on the NJ TRANSIT system or MetroNorth’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines could see their property values increase by $19,000.  For those living within walking distance, the projected increase is even higher at $29,000.  The new tunnel will also improve accessibility to midtown Manhattan, doubling the number of people living west of the Hudson River who can commute to midtown Manhattan within 50 minutes.  Construction of the tunnel, which will be the second trans-Hudson rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York state with midtown Manhattan, will be complete in 2018.

The report, entitled “The ARC Effect: How Better Transit Boosts Home Values and Local Economies,” is part of a larger statistical analysis of 45,000 home values within two miles of NJ TRANSIT stations. The researchers based their figures on the effect that three previous imporovement projects had on housing values. 

The report’s authors conclude with a number of implications, including:

  • Investing in transit pays off. The ARC project will cost $9 billion but produce $18 billion in new value.
  • Higher property values reflect an efficient economy and improved job accessibility.Average wages in New York city are 60% higher than surrounding areas, so improving access to the city makes homes along transit lines more attractive.
  • Better train service can increase tax bases at the local and state levels, which reduces the pressure to increase tax rates, especially in tough economics times.
  • The greatest property values can be gained by building transit-oriented, mixed-use, economically diverse development near transit stations.
  • Transit agencies should collaborate with the communities along corridors utilizing the new ARC tunnel to maximize the economic benefits and improve the quality-of-life of all residents living near these stations.

Read a summary and press release here.

Read the full report here.

For more information on the ARC Tunnel project, visit the project website.