Office of the Governor
McGreevey: New Jersey to
Receive $206 Million in Federal Funds for
Transit Facilities Impacted by September 11th
(Jersey City) - Governor James E. McGreevey, joined by U.S. Senators RobertTorricelli and Jon Corzine, Congressman Bob Menendez, and Transportation Commissioner James Fox, today announced that New Jersey will receive an estimated $206 million from the federal government to improve and restore service at transportation facilities impacted by the September 11th attacks.
At Exchange Place in Jersey City, the Governor announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide up to an estimated $150 million for improvements at Grove Street and Exchange Place PATH stations. In addition, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved $56.1 million for expansion of and improvements to NJTransit’s main rail maintenance facility, the Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny.
“Nearly one year after the attacks of September 11th, we are still confronted with the challenge of rebuilding our region’s transportation infrastructure to meet the needs of our riders,” said McGreevey. “Today, with the assistance of FEMA and FTA, we are providing New Jersey with $206 million in federal transportation assistance to bolster our mass transportation system.”
As part of the $100 million New Jersey’s federal delegation previously secured, the $56.1 million will be used to accelerate construction at the Meadows facility so that it can accommodate an expanded rail fleet to meet the demands of post-September 11th ridership increases. In June, FTA approved using another $38 million of these funds to purchase new locomotives and eight new cruiser buses, improve Hudson Bergen Light Rail signals, and construct a pocket track at Newark Penn Station.
“Senators Torricelli and Corzine, Congressman Menendez and the Congressional delegation have fought tenaciously on behalf of New Jersey in securing these funds,” continued McGreevey. “Our State remains committed to working in partnership with our federal representatives and the Port Authority to ensure that our regional transportation network is rebuilt to meet the needs of our commuters.”
“By rebuilding part of what the terrorists destroyed on 9-11, America is showing the world that our spirits and our commitment to a better future are stronger than ever,” said Senator Torricelli. “We are rising to the new transportation challenges we are facing as a result of the attack. This funding will ease congestion and make major improvements to our infrastructure, which has been strained under the weight of increased use for the past year. I thank the Governor, Senator Corzine and the entire Congressional Delegation for their partnership in pursuing federal resources to help our region recover.”
"The strength of our state's and our region's economy depends on a safe, reliable, efficient and modern transportation network, and therefore, this federal assistance is key," said Corzine. "We face new demands on our mass transit system because of the September 11th attack on our country. I am pleased that FEMA and the Federal Transit Administration heard our arguments about New Jersey's unique post-9/11 recovery needs. This aid will help us rebuild and grow even stronger."
"Today's funding comes at a critical time for our region. It will help build upon the foundation of a transportation system that proved essential on and after September 11, so that the residents of the New Jersey and New York metropolitan area can continue to count on affordable, reliable, comfortable, and safe modes of transportation," said Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senior New Jersey Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.
Specifically, FEMA will provide up to an estimated $150 million to fund interim transportation measures that will serve New Jersey commuters until the damaged PATH systems are restored. These FEMA funding projects include improvements at Exchange Place and Grove Street PATH stations, the replacement of damaged rail cars, construction of park-and-ride-lots, and operational support for additional train and ferry service. The actual amount of the FEMA funding commitment will be based upon a full review of design plans to determine eligibility as well as agreement with the Port Authority on how insurance proceeds will be applied.
"This federal support will help the Port Authority reopen the Exchange Place PATH station by next summer," said Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra. "New Jersey commuters will enjoy greatly improved access to Jersey City's Gold Coast and to New York City, because Exchange Place provides convenient connections to Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service, and to ferry service to Manhattan. This access will improve even more when the Port Authority completes construction of the temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center site by December 2003, providing a direct connection to Lower Manhattan for tens of thousands of daily commuters."
"The effects of September 11 reached well beyond the borders of lower Manhattan," said Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox. "New Jersey's mass transit needs reached a critical point as new commuters flooded an already overburdened transportation system. The federal dollars obtained by Senators Torricelli and Corzine will greatly assist DOT in meeting the challenge of addressing those needs."
Additionally, the FTA’s approval of $56.1 million for the Meadows Maintenance will allow NJ Transit to have access to the space and equipment that is needed to meet the increased demands on its rail system since September 11th. Meadows is a 78-acre facility, where all of the maintenance for NJ Transit’s entire rail fleet is done. The complex was originally designed and equipped to meet the needs of NJ Transit’s system through 2005.
“Since September 11, ridership on New Jersey Transit’s commuter rail system has seen substantial increases in passengers, resulting in large numbers of standees on trains into New York Penn Station,” FTA Administrator Jennifer L. Dorn said. “These funds will help provide additional space and equipment need to maintain an expanded fleet of vehicles and reduce the time each vehicle is out of service for maintenance.”
With proper maintenance capabilities, NJ Transit will be able to continue providing the enhanced level of service required to meet the needs of increased passengers. For example, beginning in 2005, the first of 231 bi-level cars will arrive to begin carrying increased passenger loads. These cars are highly sophisticated and will require maintenance in a substantially different manner than at present.
McGreevey Administration Improves Mass Transit:
Under the leadership of Governor McGreevey and Transportation Commissioner James Fox, NJ Transit and the Department of Transportation have taken a number of steps to improve and expand the services offered to accommodate the needs of New Jersey’s commuters.
These improvements include expanded ferry service to and from Lower Manhattan, which have increased the capacity of trans-Hudson ferry services to more than 63,000 daily riders.
In addition, to address the significant overcrowding conditions that occurred on peak period trains to New York Penn Station, NJ TRANSIT implemented numerous service changes, including a series of schedule changes designed to ensure that the 4,000 people who stand each day on the train have seats by September. Schedules were adjusted in September 2001, January 2002, May 2002, and June 2002. Most recently, adjustments were made to Saturday schedules on August 3, and additional adjustments are planned for September 2002.
The Governor and Commissioner Fox have also announced the purchase of 231 bi-level rail cars for which the Port Authority has allocated $250 million. Each car has approximately 30 percent more seats than the existing single-level cars, providing approximately 20,000 more seats than currently exist.