Payne Urges Christie, NJ Transit, NJDOT to Reconsider Plan to Reroute Midtown Direct Service During Penn Station Repairs


NEWARK, N.J. –- (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, sent a letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Richard Hammer, and NJ Transit Executive Director Steven Santoro, urging them to reconsider their plan to reroute Midtown Direct service during Amtrak’s New York Penn Station track work this summer.

“In my role as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I actively engage with the key stakeholders to ensure that New Jerseyans are treated equitably,” Congressman Payne, Jr. wrote. “In this instance, I believe that my constituents are not being treated fairly. The upcoming track work at Penn Station centers around the “A” Interlocking which is primarily used by New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. Over 180,000 New Jersey Transit commuters travel through Penn Station daily, more than six times the number of Amtrak passengers, meaning that the closures will have an outsized impact on the already beleaguered New Jersey commuters.”

“I am keenly aware that the track work is unavoidable. However, New Jersey Transit’s current plan is to redirect all Midtown Direct trains to Hoboken while making no changes to other lines’ schedules, denying many of my constituents the one-seat ride that drew them to Northern New Jersey. I strongly urge New Jersey Transit to reconsider its current plans and devise a plan that is more equitable for all New Jersey commuters,” Congressman Payne, Jr. concluded.

Earlier this month, amid lengthy delays, cancelled trains, and derailments, Amtrak announced that it will close several tracks at Penn Station this summer to carry out much-needed repairs on infrastructure.

On Tuesday, May 23, Governor Christie announced an agreement between NJ Transit and Amtrak to divert all of NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Midtown Direct trains to Hoboken, where ferries and PATH trains connect to Manhattan. Midtown Direct is the only line that will be affected.

Congressman Payne, Jr. has been a vocal proponent for federal investment to address our country’s dire infrastructure needs, particularly in the Northeast. He has been an outspoken critic of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the New Starts program that would put critical infrastructure projects at risk.

Earlier this month, Congressman Payne, Jr. joined Amtrak representatives for a Portal Bridge site tour and a briefing about the condition of the bridge and the larger Gateway Program for rail infrastructure improvements along the Northeast Corridor.

Click here for a pdf of the letter.

Source: Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.


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