(PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ) – At the March 14th, 2016 session of the New Jersey General Assembly, Assemblyman Tim Eustace (NJ-38) and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (NJ-35) introduced a package of legislation aimed at supporting the growth of mass transit options in North Jersey and the efforts of the North Jersey Rail Coalition to advocate for New Jersey Transit to restart the dormant Passaic-Bergen Rail Project and for the Gateway Development Corporation to include the “Bergen Loop” in the Gateway Tunnel Project to ensure one seat service for Bergen and Passaic County residents into New York Penn Station. The package of legislation includes the following bills:
A3517 Requires Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center to study potential rail passenger service ridership along New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway right-of-way; appropriates $50,000.
A3518 Establishes bi-state commission to study and make recommendations to address rail passenger service needs of certain New Jersey and New York commuters.
A3520 Requires NJTA to study impact of constructing rail stations at certain park and ride facilities.
AR128 Urges inclusion of "Bergen Loop" option in proposed Hudson River rail tunnel project.
“This is the first step to ensuring that the mass transit needs of Bergen and Passaic County residents are being met, and we are doing everything we can to move forward on important mass transit projects in our region,” stated Assemblyman Tim Eustace, who represents parts of Bergen and Passaic Counties. “I am going to continue to work with the local, county, State, and federal officials in the North Jersey Rail Coalition to not only restart the Passaic-Bergen Rail Project, but to make sure that the Bergen Loop is included in the Gateway Tunnel Project and one-seat service for our residents is a part of any plan for the new tunnel under the Hudson River.”
The North Jersey Rail Coalition was formed in 2015 and is comprised of local, county, state, and federal officials formed in 2015 to advocate for mass transit investment. Specifically, it is working to restart the Passaic-Bergen Rail Project – a dormant New Jersey Transit project that would provide commuter rail service on the freight tracks owned by New York Susquehanna and Western Railway – and expand its scope to provide service directly into Hudson County with a link to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stop at Tonnelle Avenue. Additionally, NJRC is advocating for the “Bergen Loop” to be included in the Gateway Tunnel Project, which was a component of the Access to the Region’s Core (“ARC”) project that ensured one-seat service from the Bergen, Main, and Pascack Valley Lines into New York Penn Station.
“The North Jersey Rail Coalition was formed because the mass transit options are lacking,” stated Passaic County Freeholder Director Theodore “TJ” Best. “Mass transit creates jobs, it drives economic development, and it improves our quality of life. We are coming together as representatives at every level of government because the Passaic-Bergen Rail Project and Bergen Loop are too important to North Jersey’s economic and the long-term sustainability of our communities. I am going to continue to fight and advocate with Assemblyman Eustace and Assemblywoman Sumter – and all elected officials who support mass transit in North Jersey – to make sure these important projects are moving forward and that these bills become law.”
"I want to thank Assemblyman Eustace and our state legislators for their efforts on these important bills. Access to public transportation is crucial to economic growth and improving quality of life in densely populated North Jersey. The federal-state-county-local coalition we formed seeks better transportation options for our constituents and will not stop until we have modernized and expanded our transportation options. Our hardworking commuters deserve it," said U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-9th District), who last week led a bipartisan letter the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Amtrak asking for the Bergen Loop be included in the Gateway Tunnel Project. "To get more riders a one seat ride across the river, I’ve partnered with House members from both parties to request that the Bergen Loop be included in the Gateway project, and we are glad the response from stakeholders has been supportive."
The loop would ensure a one-seat ride to Manhattan for commuters in northern New Jersey and Orange and Rockland Counties in New York State. Joining Rep. Pascrell on the letter were U.S. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY-17th District); Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5th District); and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18th District). The Gateway Tunnel Project would create a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey to midtown Manhattan, a critical infrastructure need for commuters on both sides of the river.
CONTACT:Keith Furlong, County of Passaic
Christopher Hillmann, Assemblyman Tim Eustace
Timothy Carroll, Congressman Bill Pascrell