NJ lawmakers to address transit issues

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey's lawmakers are calling for action after a fourth day of travel delays on New Jersey's railways.

For the fourth time this week New Jersey Transit trains traveling to and from New York City faced delays due to power problems on Amtrak tracks. As a result, Amtrak was restricted to operating three trains at a time through the Hudson River Tunnel, resulting in the delays.

PATH is still cross-honoring NJ Transit tickets at Newark, Hoboken and Penn Station. The NY Waterway is also cross-honoring tickets at Hoboken Terminal.

Amtrak officials are blaming the problems on aging infrastructure.

"This is what happens when you are dealing with tunnels that are on the way out in terms of their lifespan," says Sen. Robert Menendez.

The senator says New Jersey could have been five years into the construction of a new Hudson River rail crossing, except Gov. Chris Christie canceled the plan.

"Unfortunate, at that time, the governor had a different view. He canceled it and we lost all the federal money," Menendez says.

However, Gov. Christie may be having second thoughts on the matter. While appearing on the Larry Kudlow Show on WABC radio, the governor said he would be in favor of building new tunnels if all parties shared the costs equally.

Gov. Christie also says he will look into the issues with Amtrak. In a statement released Friday afternoon, he says, "I have also asked the New Jersey attorney general to review the matter to see what recourse New Jersey has to ensure the $100 million we pay Amtrak every year for use of this critical infrastructure is being used properly."

Following the governor's statement, Amtrak officials responded by saying "We are actively sharing information with our partners at New Jersey Transit and other agencies and will continue to work closely with them in developing an immediate solution. These power failures demonstrate the urgent need for a funding solution so we can build and renew the infrastructure needed to keep this region and the economy moving."

The statement also apologized to customers for the recent delays this week.

Amtrak experts believe the 100-year-old Hudson River rail tunnel only has about 20 years left.

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