Over a dozen Passaic, Bergen and Hudson County officials gathered at the Passaic County administration building to announce their partnership in the North Jersey Rail Coalition this morning – which aims to provide a transportation system to connect all three counties. Â
The long-term NJ Transit project, which was not given a timetable, looks to reintroduce a diesel passenger rail service to connect North Jersey.
The first phase of the project would seek to evaluate the environmental impact of a rail service from Hawthorne to Hackensack, while the second phase would look at how to realistically connect Passaic and Bergen Counties with the Tonnelle Avenue Station Light Rail in North Bergen.
The costs of such a project havenâ€™t been updated since a proposal from 2007 came up with a preliminary figure of about $150 million.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) gave some background on the project, which he has been working on for the better part of the last decade.
Senate Pres. Stephen Sweeney (D-3), who lives in West Deptford, explained why he wanted to throw his support behind the North Jersey project.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) added that investing in transportation will be beneficial in chipping away at New Jerseyâ€™s debt.
Furthermore, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop noted that after seeing his city benefit from the Light Rail system first hand, he believes a new transit project will create, as well as provide access to, more jobs.
Others in attendance included the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, state Senator Nellie Pou (D-35), Paterson Mayor Joey Torres, Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36), Elmwood Park Mayor Richard Mola, as well asPassaic County Freeholders Hector Lora and John Bartlett.