The problems are with the POLITICIANS NOT CSX. They could easily run the single daily freight at night.
But the politicos of Bergen County have given in to Hudsons who want the light rail to go to Secaucus.
Read my reply to Rothman here and come to the meeting on Wed. the 22nd, in Tenafly. I will be there from 3pm to 9Pm.
Letters to the Editor
In reality, the $3.6 million of federal funding that Congressman Steven Rothman has secured will not help make the Northern “commuter rail line a reality.” Actually, Rothman and his cronies from Hudson County have done the utmost to prevent Eastern Bergen County from getting any practical rail service.
In 2002, all the legislative officials of Bergen County met and agreed that extending the Hudson Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) up the Northern Valley would receive the highest priority for any rail projects in Bergen County. This was an endorsement of the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) which was begun in 2001 and was scheduled to complete its Locally Preferred Alternative Report before 2002. The DEIS was to examine all environmental issues as well as preliminary design.
In early 2003, a newspaper article appeared stating that Hudson County politicians were seeking to divert the destination of the HBLR from Tenafly, in Bergen County, to Secaucus in Hudson County. Later, I heard from NJ Transit that they had decided to route the HBLR to terminate in the Sports Complex. They NEVER issued the “Locally Preferred Alternative Report.” What ever happened to the promised extension of the electric light rail line?
NJ Transit claims that extending the HBLR to Tenafly would cost a billion dollars, which they say is too much. Seeking to appease the public in Eastern Bergen County, NJ Transit now is promising that they will spend half-a-billion dollars to provide a Diesel Multiple Unit Shuttle service to a new isolated Transfer Station, located at the edge of the swamps in North Bergen. The 3.6 million dollars, secured by Mr. Rothman, are to pay mainly for the design of the North Bergen Transfer Station and for a bridge to connect to the Tonnelle Avenue Station. Afterwards, this bridge will be used to carry the light rail extension to Xanadu.
Is this a good deal for Eastern Bergen? Definitely not! Instead of riding in a rapidly accelerating electric light rail car from Tenafly direct to Weehawken and Hoboken, we would be stuck doing the following. We would board the slower Dinky Diesel Shuttle to an isolated Transfer Station on the edge of the swamps in North Bergen. There, we would need to climb upstairs to catch a light rail train coming from Secaucus to take us to Weehawken and Hoboken. How much time would you spend waiting for a train in the middle of nowhere? Of course, knowing the poor on-time performance of NJ Transit, I guess I would use my automobile instead.
Because of this extra and uncomfortable transfer the ridership will drop, meaning that fewer trains will be run. With longer waits between trains, fewer people would use rail services between stops in Bergen County. According to preliminary data received from NJ Transit, the projected ridership on the HBLR Northern would be three times greater than for the Dinky Diesel Shuttle.
Is it a good business practice to cut the cost by half to get only one-third the ridership and be left with a service requiring a huge annual operating subsidy? Based on their past decisions in South Jersey, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will certainly think it is a bad deal. Even if Mr. Rothman can obtain federal funding to build the Dinky Diesel Shuttle, with the weak ridership numbers, the FTA will turn it down.
Then, NJ Transit has proposed that the Dinky Shuttle will eventually be connected to the new rail tunnel into the City. Maybe so! Possibly in twenty to forty years! Meanwhile, we can continue being stuck in ever-increasing traffic.
If you live or work in Eastern Bergen, call or write to Mr. Steven Rothman Please, let the Congressman, and NJ Transit know that they must stop kowtowing to the developers and their cronies in Hudson County. Instead, they can start by doing something good for all the people, namely extending the HBLR at least to Tenafly! !
Albert F. Cafiero
Chair Emeritus, Transit Committee of Bergen County
Transportation Advisor, Senator Gerald Cardinale
Albert F. Cafiero