Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari and Senator Tom Kean Jr., which would require NJ Transit to conduct a feasibility study on restoring the one-seat ride from the Raritan Valley Line to New York City, passed the Senate Transportation Committee today.
“The loss of the one-seat ride to Manhattan has been felt throughout my district and surrounding counties,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “The Raritan Valley Line is a large rail operation with strong ridership numbers and it is perplexing to me, and to those in the area, why NJ Transit would view this passage to New York City as expendable. Our businesses, our residents and our economy are feeling the effects of this loss every day. The continued temporary loss of revenue, the loss of time and the loss of tax dollars cannot continue to persist without incurring permanent losses.
“I echo the strong advocacy displayed by the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition in calling for NJ Transit to re-commission the one-seat railcar. Alleviating the monetary strain on businesses and local economies throughout the region and ending the inconvenience of ballooned travel times is paramount.
“Conducting a feasibility study would provide valuable analysis and projections of costs to restore service, as well as provide NJ Transit with the steps they can take to see this come to fruition. Our region needs this,” Scutari said.
The Regional Plan Association conducted a study on the impact the one-seat ride service into Manhattan has on the towns surrounding the rail line. The study revealed that towns are more desirable to commuters and see increases in their residential property values. These towns greatly benefit as well; salaries for jobs in Manhattan are 60% higher than the same jobs in New Jersey. This consumer spending correlates to strong local economies with healthy business districts, and attract new businesses to these towns.
The bill, S-3574, would require NJ Transit to prepare and submit a report to the legislature detailing the findings of the study within six months of enactment.
The report would be required to include findings concerning:
• Why service was initially suspended.
• Historical and expected ridership for the direct rail service to New York City.
• Action that NJ Transit would be required to take in order to provide the service, the amount of time those actions are expected to take, the cost to provide the service and any factors that may delay or increase the cost of providing the service.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-0.