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Poll: Is It Time to Re-Evaluate Our Transit Priorities?

The TTF plans to pump most of its money into our decaying roads and bridges. Is that really the best way to divvy up the funds?

Thousands of daily commuters to New York City were treated to several days of hell last week when an NJ Transit train derailed in Penn Station, knocking eight of the Amtrak-owned facility’s 21 tracks out of commission. The accident raises the issue of whether our priorities are right. NJ Transit has been starved in the budgets of Gov. Chris Christie and Amtrak has trouble getting its budgets approved in Washington. Meanwhile, the newly flush Transportation Trust Fund anticipates most of that money going to repair our crumbling roads and bridges.

What should New Jersey’s approach to transportation be?

  • With so many good-paying jobs in New York, the overall health of our economy depends on residents having easy, inexpensive access to the city at all hours. It is short-sighted not to make mass transit a priority. NJ Transit needs more money from the Transportation Trust Fund to cover capital projects, and there should be more funding coming out of the state budget to help subsidize NJ Transit’s annual operating expenses.

  • It seems to me that our roads are the main arteries for the entire region and we need to maintain them. Not everyone takes mass transit — or cares about it. But we all drive on the roads. That should be our priority.

  • At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what the state does. If the federal government is unwilling to fully fund Amtrak and ensure that Penn Station and the trans-Hudson tunnels are in good shape, New Jersey commuters will always be stuck in transit hell. It’s up to Congress to make sure Amtrak and the entire Northeast Corridor are fully supported.

  • This problem needs to be laid at the feet of the Port Authority and the cronyism and waste at that agency. The authority needs to redo its 10-year capital plan to make sure a new bus terminal is completed within the next decade. And if the Trump administration won’t invest in new rail tunnels, the authority needs to take the lead to make sure they are built as soon as possible. The Port Authority is flush with cash and just needs to recommit itself to its original bistate transportation mission.

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