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Highway under the HudsonA History of the Holland Tunnel$
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Robert W. Jackson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814742990

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814742990.001.0001

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The Impetus

The Impetus

(p.9) 1 The Impetus
Highway under the Hudson

Robert W. Jackson

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the impetus behind the proposed construction of the Holland Tunnel. In January 1917, Walter E. Edge, newly elected chief executive of the state of New Jersey, met with Major General George Washington Goethals, builder of the Panama Canal. During his campaign and in his inaugural address, Edge committed his administration to modernizing New Jersey's transportation infrastructure. His three-part plan included a vehicular bridge across the Delaware River between Camden, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River between Jersey City, New Jersey, and New York City; and overhaul of the methodology for planning and building state highways. A key part of Edge's plan was a proposed state tax that could provide a pool of $15 million from which he could dip to pay for the new highway program. But in a state with a long history of governmental corruption on every level, there was considerable suspicion about how the money would be spent. He had to appoint someone to the position of state engineer who would be “beyond criticism,” Edge believed that Goethals was that man.

Keywords:   Holland Tunnel, Walter E. Edge, George Washington Goethals, state tax, state highways

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