Pascrell Announces Major Funding for Planned Rail Line Connecting Passaic and Bergen Counties
Federal Appropriation Bill Passed Provides $6 million to
Connect Passaic County to Statewide Transit System
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. today announced $6 million in federal funding for the Passaic-Bergen Cross County Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) demonstration program, an initiative to bring advanced transit technology to rail lines in Passaic and Bergen counties. This funding, which sets aside the federal dollars within the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), is included in the FY05 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, passed on Saturday, November 20, 2004 by a vote of 344 - 51, 1 present. Also included in the bill is $400,000 to help New Jersey Transit demonstrate DMU technology.
"This project has been my top priority and I am proud to say we can pursue this revolutionary project. The funding passed will allow us to purchase vehicles and really get a start on implementing our vision," stated Rep. Pascrell, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "Once completed, the DMU link will improve the quality of life for residents in both Passaic and Bergen Counties, reducing congestion and pollution, while linking urban populations and jobs."
The proposed rail alignment of the Passaic-Bergen demo project shares track with the NYS&W freight line which offers ready connections to other outlets in the area. Specifically, the NYS&W (also known amongst transit experts as the "Susie Q") serves upstate New York and runs through Northern New Jersey, with its terminus in North Bergen. NJ Transit has considered proposals to utilize this line for passenger rail service over several decades.
"We have to thank our state's appropriators, Congressman Frelinghuysen and Congressman Rothman, for their effective leadership in delivering for this project," Pascrell continued. "These funds are a win for residents throughout North Jersey, our environment and our economy."
"We applaud Congressman Pascrell for his leadership," said George Warrington, Executive Director of New Jersey Transit. "NJ Transit has provided $10 million in its capital program to advance this project. This marks an important contribution and step forward in our regional transportation plan."
Planners of the DMU demonstration are currently developing phase one of the project, which would travel from one terminus in Hawthorne, through Paterson, and ending in Hackensack. Ultimately, Passaic County residents would be connected to the new Secaucus Transfer Station, Hoboken and proposed Xanadu complex. Options down the road include an extension to Pompton Lakes through a potential Northwest extension.
Experts agree that DMUs have the potential to provide frequency and convenience associated with light rail service, while being compatible with existing commuter rail options. The proposed car for this line is a DMU compliant with Federal Railroad Administration standards, meaning that the car is safe to provide service on freight fixed guideways.
"New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the union. Adding lanes for automobiles is not the answer to our regional congestion and mobility problems," stated Pascrell. "We need more passenger friendly and environmentally efficient public transportation and we need it now. This project will be a boost to residents throughout the NY metro area and I hope to continue on this path of modernization."