Local mayors call for long-term solutions to transit woes

Posted: Updated:

Local New Jersey mayors are calling for long-term solutions to the state’s transit woes, as the “Summer of Hell” caused by Amtrak repairs continues.

The mayors held a news conference at Newark Broad Street Station Thursday to speak for their constituents along the Morris and Essex lines. Those trains have mostly been diverted from New York Penn Station until Sept. 1, when the repairs are expected to be done. Trains stop in Hoboken and commuters are forced to find alternate means into New York.

Transit rider Crystal Dickinson says that she now needs to arrive an hour early to catch her train.

“The train is late and the trains are only running now on an hour schedule,” she says. “I’m glad that I took the hour before I was supposed to be where I was supposed to be because I would be late right now.”

Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty says that his town has added extra buses to take the pressure of the trains.

“Let’s face it, [the transit system] is over 100 years old. This is just the beginning of the repairs,” he says. “This is something we’re going to have to get used to so we have to be prepared on how we’re doing to deal with it.”

The mayors say that they are calling on federal officials to provide funding to build a new rail tunnel, the Gateway Project, to improve the rail system. That project is expected to take eight to 10 years to complete.

Both candidates for New Jersey governor, Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno, have proposals to audit New Jersey Transit next year.

Amtrak pushed up plans to improve Penn Station after major issues on the tracks earlier this year that led to several accidents.

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