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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

7/21/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

New Jersey governor, congressman back NJ Transit light-rail extension


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Last week, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) announced they’re teaming up to back a light-rail extension to Bergen County.

New Jersey Transit’s long-studied plan to offer a diesel multiple unit (DMU) shuttle service on the Northern Branch doesn’t offer a practical near-term alternative for county residents, Corzine and Rothman believe. Last year, the transit agency submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Federal Transit Administration that analyzed both light-rail equipment and DMUs. However, the only DMU manufacturer that met U.S. safety standards for operating in mixed freight/passenger territory filed for bankruptcy and a recent global search for another manufacturer that could meet could strict federal safety requirements showed DMUs are several years away, at best, Corzine and Rothman said in a joint statement.

“We can no longer wait for emerging technologies that make the perfect the enemy of the good,” said Corzine. “Light rail will enable thousands of Bergen residents to get to work on the waterfront, or make easy connections to PATH and ferries into Manhattan.”

NJ Transit expects to begin preliminary engineering for an $800 million to $900 million Northern Branch light-rail extension in 2010. Daily light-rail ridership is projected to reach about 24,000 passenger trips.

“With the support and cooperation of the relevant federal agencies, we expect to put shovels in the ground in Bergen County in 2011,” said Corzine.


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