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Walder: No. 7 extension into NJ 'exciting,' but not affordable

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The city’s proposal to have the No. 7 train extend into New Jersey sounds “very exciting,” the MTA chief said Wednesday — but just don’t ask his cash-strapped agency for help.

“There is no money in our capital program for any megaprojects beyond the three we have underway,” Chairman Jay Walder told reporters after an MTA meeting, referring to the Second Avenue subway, Fulton Street Transit Center and East Side Access projects.

Walder couldn’t say whether the line would be able to handle a surge in riders if it were to continue under the Hudson River to a rail station in Secaucus.

A longer line could cost $5.3 billion, city officials said, and is being proposed after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed a plan to build a commuter rail tunnel between the states. City officials could reportedly try to earn some of the $3 billion in federal funding that was supposed to go toward the tunnel project.

Mayoral spokesman Andrew Brent said Wednesday that it is “unlikely that the project would move forward without” federal aid.

MTA board members agreed that the agency shouldn’t be on the hook for the project.

“If the Port Authority and the state of New Jersey want to [fund it], and there’s some kind of deal where we pay for the extra cars, maybe people will go for that,” said board member Andrew Albert.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the project a “very clever idea” Wednesday, but said it’s too soon to gauge its feasibility.

The current $2.1 billion project to extend the 7 train from its terminus of 42nd Street and Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

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