ASSEMBLY LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT LEGISLATIVE PANEL
Daniel J. Censullo
Assistant Executive Director
New Rail Construction
New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Department of Transportation 3
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit System
New Rail Construction
New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Department of Transportation 10
Legislative and Community Affairs
New Rail Construction
New Jersey Transit
New Jersey Department of Transportation 21
Bergen County 27
John C. Johnston
21st Century Rail Corporation 32
James Clifford Greller
Assembly Light Rail Legislative Panel 35
Hudson County Regional Health Commission 57
ASSEMBLYMAN JOSEPH V. DORIA Jr., (Chairman): Just to let everyone know, this hearing of the Light Rail Panel is not only being recorded by the Office of Legislative Services, it’s also on live cable TV in Bayonne. So, this will be a live hearing, and then we will probably rerun it a few times, just to let the public in Bayonne and this area know what’s going on. So it is live.
I’d ask everyone when they speak to make sure the microphone is on, and then turn it off. There’s an on-off button on this microphone. (indicating) That’s the one that’s tied into the TV.
What I’d like to do, since it’s tradition in Bayonne before we begin a meeting, we’ll have a pledge to the flag. (participants recite the Pledge of Allegiance)
I’d like to welcome everyone to the City of Bayonne, and especially welcome the members of the Light Rail Panel. I’d like to introduce the members of the Light Rail Panel, and then we’ll get into the presentations.
We have here the newest member, one of the newest members, a new Assemblyman from the 36th district, Assemblyman Paul Sarlo. We have the former Chair of the Light Rail Panel, an Assemblywoman from the 38th district, Assemblywoman Rose Heck. And we have the Mayor of Northvale, who is also an Assemblyman from the 40th -- 39th -- we keep on changing districts -- 39th district, Assemblyman John Rooney. Unfortunately, Assemblyman Jack Conners from the 7th district had a press conference in Burlington County. He could not be here.
So we’re here today to have a discussion of the various issues related to the light rail construction here in Hudson and Bergen County, as well as what’s going on in South Jersey, as well as some concepts for the future.
What I’d like to do is begin. I’ll hand out the agendas to the Panel members.
Just to tell everyone, this morning we took a ride on the light rail from 34th Street Station in Bayonne, through Pavonia, and actually went up the beginning of the flyover to go to Hoboken. And that was a very interesting ride. We got an opportunity to see a lot of things in Jersey City and in Bayonne. And the construction is progressing very quickly -- both the 22nd Street in Bayonne, which will be opened, hopefully, within a year, as well as the Hoboken Station, which will open in September of this year, and thus, we will have a ride directly from the 34th Street Station to Hoboken in September of this year. As everyone knows, the trains run from 5:30 in the morning until 1:30 in the morning. There’s four hours off between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. And there’s usually a seven-and-a-half-minute headway during rush-hour and a nine minute in nonrush-hour.
What I’d like to do is, just again, talk about the mission of the Panel. And I’d appreciate anybody else, including Rose-- As you know, this Panel was created back in 1992 by former Speaker Chuck Haytaian. Since then it’s been reconstituted. Assembly Speaker Albio Sires reconstituted this Panel during this session of the Legislature. It originally was a three-member Panel. It is now a five-member Panel, with the five members who are here present. During its first 10 years of existence, Assemblywoman Rose Heck was the chair. I now have the privilege of being chair. I’ve served on the Panel with Assemblywoman Heck during those 10 years, as the minority member.
We have been successful in working with New Jersey Transit, and we want to commend New Jersey Transit in moving forward with the project. The project is way ahead of schedule. We were kidding on the train this morning that the original plans were by 2010, construction would be underway. Well, it’s 2002, and we’re actually running the line. And that’s because of the design, build, operate, and maintain concept, the DBOM concept, which this Panel pioneered and which we sponsored in legislation. It allowed for quick movement of the construction of the light rail. We’re way ahead of schedule. South Jersey is moving forward. And the South Jersey line will be opening in the fall.
D A N I E L J. C E N S U L L O: In mid-2003, Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Oh, I’m sorry, mid 2003. I saw the station being built yesterday in Trenton -- one of the stations. So it’s mid 2003. But it’s moving very quickly, also. And we’ll have a brief report.
But the purpose of the Panel is to work with New Jersey Transit and the Department of Transportation to create input from the public to allow for concepts, new concepts, to be generated. That is the reason why we will be having a presentation on the so-called X Project today. It’s to create an opportunity for discussion, which would not otherwise take place in a public forum, that could generate interest and also move forward in trying to get mass transit projects moving in the State of New Jersey that will benefit our citizens, as well as those who commute between New York and New Jersey or Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and to take the congestion off the roads and to decrease the impact on the environment -- the negative impact on the environment from pollution, which results from--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And economic revitalization.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: And economic revitalization, that’s the last thing. Absolutely. And we see that going on here in Hudson County, in Bayonne and Jersey City, as a result of the construction of the light rail and the increase in property values that have occurred in both cities as a result of the construction of the light rail. Those are the basic criteria.
Would any member of the Panel like to comment at this point before we begin?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I’d just like to add one thing again. We not only put together the concept for DBOM, but we also created New Rail Construction to expedite all of our transportation projects. And they’ve done an outstanding job. And I think that should be maintained, because it doesn’t get lost in the planning stages for 10 to 20 years or disappear. And one of our major goals, as Joe elaborated on -- all of them -- was to change the little statement that used to be made with public transportation, “You can’t get there from here.” We have changed that considerably, but we want to do that throughout the entire State of New Jersey. Going into the New York Port Authority to come back to New Jersey is unacceptable to us.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: And that was very common.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Mr.--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Go ahead, John.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Sarlo.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Just a follow-up to our light rail tour this morning. I think it’s just astounding and tremendous to see how this is just not a mass transit type of operation. It’s actually integrating communities and bringing people-- It’s becoming part of the community and revitalizing some areas that have been blighted over the years. So that was a remarkable and very astounding-- It was part of my views this morning.
In addition to that, I’m excited about being on this Panel because, as you know, we’ve talked about the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and we’ve made some tremendous strides. But it’s important that we all focus together and work with Transit as this thing approaches Bergen County -- get everybody on the same page so we have one line that we could work together -- we pick a line that everybody can support. So I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to serve on this Panel.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Assemblyman Sarlo.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Thank you very much, Joe. I appreciate your inviting me down here today. It was my first opportunity to ride on a light rail, in this country, to be honest. The only ones I had been on were when I was doing some traveling in Europe. They know how to do it there. And I now see that New Jersey is finally learning how to do it. It was an excellent example.
I remember some of the old areas that were blighted. It’s amazing what’s actually growing up around the light rail. It shows what you can do. If you bring something, they will come. And it’s great.
And I want to thank you for inviting me to Bayonne. I haven’t been here in really many, many years. As a fellow mayor, I appreciate what you’re doing. The tour of the old military terminal was also very interesting.
Joe has the distinction of being the senior Democrat in the Assembly, and I have the equal distinction of being the senior Republican. So being fellow mayors and also senior guys -- old guys down there, I feel a kindred spirit here.
One of the things I have to say, though, is -- and I’ve said it before -- it’s the Hudson and almost-Bergen Light Rail, because you’re not into Bergen County as yet. (laughter) I’ve told everybody at the last meeting why I’m here. I’m here, basically, for parochial, selfish issues, and that is to make sure that the light rail goes up to my area, which is the Northern valley. Some of the things that I’ve looked at is to go beyond the box and outside the box and go, perhaps, into New York.
One of the things we talked about today -- just some discussion on the side of this -- was that by going into Orangetown and putting some sort of a terminus in there, with a repair shop and everything -- going beyond there. Metro North has been talking about having some sort of link up with Rockland County to connect to New York across the Tappan Zee Bridge. So, if we really look at this and we sit down and put some ideas together, this light rail can really take off and really be a boon to our region. It was today that we, kind of, discussed that.
And I’m really happy to be on the Panel. I’m just coming into this, and I see some things in the future that are very, very exciting. So thank you for having me here today.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I just wanted to add, again, with all of our years on the Panel--
John, we are not learning from Europe. They are learning from us. We are leading the way, globally. I mean, Puerto Rico has a project that still has not reached fruition. We’re on target with everything we do. Boston can’t meet their lead in headways. And we just learned that Ontario, Canada is looking at New Jersey and going to follow the design, build, operate, maintain on two corridors. So we’re looked at as leaders in the world with light rail. This is a wonderful, wonderful project.
And I have to thank 21st Century and Dan Censullo for their leadership roles and, of course, my friend Charlie Ingoglia, who helps keep us abreast of the rapid transit mode that keeps us moving ahead. And I’m very proud of all of you guys.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Rose, no disrespect to light rail in this country, but I remember being in Europe 30-some-odd years ago -- I won’t give away my age -- when I was in the service. And light rail was a fact there. It was a fact when I was a kid.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It was a fact here, too.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: When I was a kid, unfortunately, we took it away. We really step back many, many decades. And now we’re going forward. And yeah, I think New Jersey is leading the way. But like I said, I was in Amsterdam and Germany and all over, and light rail is the way to go. If nobody understands that, then come here and go there, and look and see what’s going on. It’s the right way to go.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
I just also want to recognize Joe Waks, who is the committee aide for the Light Rail Panel.
At this point, I’d like to call up Dan Censullo, who is with New Jersey Transit New Rail Construction -- he’s the Assistant Executive Director -- for a presentation on where we are and the progress on the current phases of the Hudson-Bergen -- almost-Bergen, but it will be Bergen Light Rail.
MR. CENSULLO: Thank you, Chairman Doria and members of the Panel. I’m particularly pleased that you’ve invited us back here today to participate in this Panel meeting, and also that the reaction of the new members to the ride this morning is so positive. And it’s amazing how infectious it can be and how one can very easily understand the value of light rail systems in the State of New Jersey and what it can do for the State of New Jersey against the backdrop of the significant growth that we have in this state and the potential that we still have and how we can get the best opportunities from that growth potential.
What we’d like to do this morning is -- this afternoon -- is perhaps build a little bit on what we presented at the transaction conference just last month. And at that transaction conference, I mentioned a few points, three of which I think are noteworthy, because they’re really short-term issues that we need to continue to focus on, because they best exemplify what the panel sponsorship of New Jersey Transit Light Rail and the Office of New Rail Construction have been able to do.
You may remember that I said we were getting very close to the point where we were going to be able to complete those very complex and vital grade-separation projects. And they are very complex and vital, because we cannot move on the rest of the second operating segment of Hudson-Bergen until such time as the freight railroads vacate the tunnel. I’m pleased to tell you that on April 22, Governor McGreevey participated in cutting the ribbon for opening Paterson Plank Road, the first one. The second one, Secaucus Road, should be open by May 10. And those are two very significant milestones that we will have achieved.
And South Jersey, just yesterday -- Bombardier advised us that on June 20, in Germany, they will take the first light rail vehicle for the southern New Jersey system and put it through dynamic testing. That vehicle will, in the first or second week in July, arrive in the United States. It will successfully complete its tests and be received in the new shop facility down in southern New Jersey.
And the third milestone is one that is ongoing. That is that we continue to accelerate the construction work that you have charged us with: with the completion of the first operating segment of Hudson-Bergen into Hoboken by September, the work we’re doing in the north and south extensions of Hudson-Bergen on the second segment, the southern New Jersey work, the grade separation work, and other projects assigned to our office. We are continuing to expend in excess of $30 million a month. And I think that that’s a record that you should be proud of, because you were the people who stimulated it and got it going.
But today we’re prepared to give you a detailed update on the construction progress of the second segment of Hudson-Bergen, and then an overview, if you will, of the status of other light rail projects that New Jersey Transit is carrying out.
And I’d like, at this point in time, to introduce Steve Santoro. Steve is the Project Director for Hudson-Bergen for our office. And he’ll give you the update on the construction progress for Hudson-Bergen’s second segment.
S T E V E N S A N T O R O: Thank you.
Thank you, Chairman, and thank you, Light Rail Panel.
(slide show presentation begins)
This is an overview of the entire Hudson-Bergen Light Rail alignment that’s been approved back in 1996. It goes down from the southern tip of Bayonne around Eighth Street. It goes up the alignment, up through Bayonne, through Jersey City, up around Exchange Place in Jersey City, up through into Hoboken Terminal around here. There’s another leg that starts on the west side of Jersey City and connects into the mainline trunk of the alignment.
This particular area here is what we called MOS-1, which is the first operating segment of the alignment. That is now operating from here down to 34th Street -- the western leg, and into -- almost into Hoboken Terminal. As Dan mentioned and the Chairman mentioned, Hoboken Terminal -- that the light rail into Hoboken Terminal will be opening up in September of this year.
The second segment, which is under construction now for the light rail, takes us from Hoboken Terminal, in a westerly direction, through Jersey City, up around Hoboken, here, back to the waterfront along Weehawken -- the Weehawken Waterfront, the Weehawken Ferry. The existing operation of the Weehawken Ferry is here. It takes us up through the Weehawken Tunnel and into North Bergen, which will be the extent of the northern end of the second operating segment. We are also extending from 34th Street down to the south, down to 22nd Street in Bayonne. The construction for those segments -- for the MOS-2 segments, here and here, are well under construction, and we will -- the following slides will depict the actual construction and what -- it will show, also, what you can expect when that operation commences. The entire rail alignment to the north will commence operation in the middle of 2005. And the extension from 22nd -- from 34th Street to 22nd Street in Bayonne is anticipated to open up in the end of 2003.
We’ll start showing actual construction photos here. This is the construction of the viaduct into the Y area there -- installing catenary lines right now.
This is a view looking south on top of the Y. You can see the extensive track work that’s up there. This will allow trains to come in a north and south direction, east to Hoboken and west up -- and eventually up to the north to the Weehawken Tunnel and Tonnelle Avenue.
This is a slide of the construction that’s going on now on top of the Y looking east -- extensive track work.
This is looking east again into Hoboken Terminal. Hoboken Terminal is in the vicinity of this mast here. This, as an aside issue that’s not directly related to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail but-- This is what we call Long Slip. This will be filled over the course of the next year and a half and will become an extension of the Hoboken Terminal, and additional track will be laid. New maintenance facilities will be constructed over the course of the next several years.
This is a view looking east, again, down the viaduct into Hoboken. Hoboken is over to here.
This is our light rail crossing over Long Slip looking -- this is looking to the north. The light rail will come down to here and into the Hoboken Terminal. And you can see, in the distance, the existing Hoboken Terminal commuter yard.
This, again, is looking, getting a little closer to the station in Hoboken Terminal. Again, the master -- that’s in existence in Hoboken Terminal now.
These are the beginnings of the platform areas. You can see, back here, there’s going to be two platforms, one here and one here; and three tracks, a track going in here, a track going in here, and a track going in here into Hoboken Terminal.
That was all part of MOS-1 going into Hoboken. This is the beginnings of the light rail, heading -- this is in a westernly direction and then heading, eventually, north. This is what we call the Jersey Avenue Viaduct. This is still in Jersey City, approaching Jersey Avenue in Jersey City -- a large viaduct about 1000 feet long. Another view of the viaduct--
This steel was put in place last week. These are very recent photographs.
This is a view on top of the viaduct, a very large extensive structure.
This is one of the bridge rehabilitations we needed to do. This is at the border of Jersey City and Hoboken.
Now we’re into the first station stop heading north. This is Second Street in Hoboken. This is looking west-- Looking east, a car drop-off area, a bus drop-off area, the platform here-- This is what the artist rendering--
This is another artist rendering of Second Street in Hoboken. The two platforms, and then the car, the kiss-and-ride and the bus drop-off.
This is a construction progress photo of the substation in and around Second Street.
This is what Second Street -- the current construction progress of Second Street now. We’ve had to put in piles on both sides of the existing Conrail track. This is an existing Conrail track that we have to work around. This is the track that Dan was speaking, that once the two grade crossings are completed -- it will be this month -- the freight traffic along this alignment will be relocated on the Northern Branch. And this entire alignment will be free to be utilized by the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
This is an artist rendering of the Ninth Street Station. It will serve both Hoboken, down at Ninth Street and the platform, and it will serve what we call the Jersey Heights, up the Palisades. This is the Palisades here. There will be an elevator tower that will bring people up from the ground level up. They will cross this pedestrian walkway up to a drop-off area here on Paterson Plank Road.
This is the construction that’s going on now for the foundation work for the elevator tower and the station platforms along here.
This is another view of the foundation.
This is what-- This is an artist rendering, which almost looks like construction is completed already. This is an artist rendering of the tower of the pedestrian walkway, up the Palisades and the future Ninth Street Station.
This is another artist rendering of that facility.
This is the top at Paterson Plank Road and Congo Street (phonetic spelling) -- an artist rendering of what it will look like. This is the elevator tower. This is the pedestrian walkway and the entrance into the pedestrian walkway.
Moving further north, this is Weehawken. This is the Weehawken Waterfront. Development is going on -- is under construction right now here along the waterfront. This is the Hudson River. Our light rail will abut the Palisades and serve all of this new development.
This particular area here is the new ferry terminal that will be constructed to accommodate the New York waterways and passenger service into New York.
This is the entrance into Weehawken Tunnel right here. So we’ll show you what we’ll be doing with Weehawken Tunnel.
This is the current condition of the Weehawken Tunnel. We’ve awarded a contract in upwards of $140 million last month to rehabilitate and widen and construct a station inside this tunnel. The Tunnel is about 4400 feet, nearly a mile.
This is a cross section of the station that will be constructed in the tunnel. Right now, the tunnel is about this wide. We’re widening the tunnel for a station 160 feet underground, three -- one shaft with three high speed elevators will take passengers up from the platform area to the top of the Palisades in Union City. This will be the elevator head house, and there will be an entire plaza area on top of the Palisades in Union City.
And this is an artist rendering of what the plaza area will look like. This is the elevator head house and ventilation stacks.
This is just south of 34th Street in Bayonne. Construction is currently underway, putting in drainage systems. And we’re starting the extension of the catenary system down south.
Again, this is looking south along the Conrail corridor. This is an existing Conrail track that we have to relocate and move over to here. We’re putting in drainage here prior to relocating that track. And the light rail will be two-track operational on the east side of this corridor.
This is 22nd Street. There will be a new station constructed in between this 22nd Street bridge and 21st Street bridge, which is just south of here. Right in this area the station will be constructed.
This is 21st Street progress. You can see the Conrail yard in the background.
And this is an artist rendering of what the station will look like between 22nd Street and 21st Street. This is 21st Street here.
And finally, this is the park-and-ride that will be-- This is the progress of the construction at the park-and-ride that will be constructed to serve the 22nd Street Station.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Steve, a quick question. Most of the tracks that have been laid -- is it all pile-supported?
MR. SANTORO: No. None of the track work is pile supported.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Okay.
MR. SANTORO: Some of the station platforms need to have pile supports.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Okay. That’s what I thought.
MR. SANTORO: And I think that’s the last slide. Oh, no.
I’ll talk about this. This, as Dan mentioned-- This is Paterson Plank Road. That opened up this month. This is Secaucus Road grade-separation progress that’s scheduled to open next week. And then, once those two roads are opened again, we’ll be able to move the freight lines off of our Hudson-Bergen alignment and shift them over.
Okay. Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you. Thank you.
At this point--
Dan, come right up.
MR. CENSULLO: Would you like me to continue with this now or--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes, yes, please.
MR. CENSULLO: Thank you.
I just wanted to briefly mention some of the other light rail projects that are being progressed in the New Jersey Transit project portfolio. The southern New Jersey rail system is a 34-mile system between Camden and Trenton. The majority of the heavy construction will be completed over this summer. And we are rapidly moving towards a point where we’ll begin to do systems integration testing and demonstration when the light rail vehicles arrive at the new shop facility.
Charlie, could you move to the next slide? (affirmative response)
Two major pieces of construction recently finished was this Rancocas Bridge, which was an old swing bridge and replaced; and the Crosswicks Creek Bridge, an old wooden trestle structure, which is now being rebuilt and should be opened in about a month. Those who follow our progress down on that project will recall when this bridge, when it was being erected, toppled over and fell in the water and laid there for four months before the contractor did the right thing, got it out of the water and back up on its pedestals. The freight railroads are now running across that bridge.
Charlie, could you go to the next one? (affirmative response)
You can see that down in Camden, and this is right opposite the entertainment center, which is the southern terminous of the line, we have begun to erect station canopies -- platform canopys, and we’re rapidly moving forward to the point, whereas, I mentioned before, we will see the first rail car delivered in July of this year.
On the Newark City subway, these PCC cars were in service since the early 1950s and were recently retired. With the program of modernization and extension of the system, there’s been -- the entire system has been significantly upgraded. And this is the Newark City subway today from Penn Station up through Belleville into Bloomfield. The red is the extension. And right in this area is a shop and yard facility.
The new six -- I’m sorry -- sixteen new rail cars are in service now on the existing alignment from Penn Station to the Franklin Avenue Station. And in June of this year, the extension will be opened along with new track work, new catenary, a new signal system throughout the Newark City subway to its new shop facility, which we constructed and opened in May--
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER FROM AUDIENCE: Yes.
MR. CENSULLO: --May of last year, where the new vehicles are being maintained. Ridership increases are estimated to approach 18 percent when that extension is opened for revenue service.
Going back to this map, again, Penn Station Newark-- This is the branch of the NERL Phase I System. The NERL Phase I will connect to the Morris and Essex line in Orange -- I’m sorry -- at Broad Street Station. And we expect upwards of 13,000-plus riders to use this system once it’s in service.
We currently plan that construction will begin -- and my pointer just went out -- but construction will begin in the dotted area section of the red line just opposite -- thank you, Steve -- just opposite the arts center, right here. Construction will begin in the fall of this year on the underground section. And in the summer of next year, on the above grade sections. This project is coordinated with the relocation of Route 21, and the initial contract for that relocation has been awarded by the DOT and is scheduled to begin shortly.
And lastly, I’d like to mention the third phase of the NERL Project, known as Union County Light Rail. And that project is the subject of a public-private partnership proposal, which was submitted under the 1997 legislation, PPP legislation. It is currently funded through preliminary design. It’s a system that will connect with the Northeast Corridor in midtown Elizabeth, run down around the Orion Complex, through Ikea, and is planned to terminate in Parking Lot D on Newark Airport.
It is funded through preliminary design. Preliminary design should be completed in the late summer of this year. And then we’ll subsequently seek a direction on how to proceed.
As these projects-- It’s, obviously, fairly easy to trace our progress through construction because it’s tangible, and the things that Steve Santoro showed you today are very easy to mark off and keep track of.
But as we move from construction and we begin to plan to operate these systems, we enter a whole new area of challenge, and it’s not as tangible. It’s much more abstract, but it’s something that’s critically important. Testing, demonstration, and, more importantly, educating the people in the communities through whom these projects will pass-- And that’s educating children in schools, educating people, their parents, educating municipal service providers so they know how to interact with us when we go into revenue service. And the person in New Rail Construction who heads that end of the program is Charles Ingoglia. And I’d just like him to take a few moments and give you a brief overview, by way of example, on what we’re doing right now on the southern Jersey system.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I just want to-- Could you bring that right back? I just want to point something out. If you notice the NERL -- the project in Union County -- the Jersey Gardens -- where Jersey Gardens is--
MR. CENSULLO: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: The line would run right there -- the light rail. Actually, you could go right across Newark Bay from Eighth Street, the old bridge that was there on the central railroad -- about a mile across is Bayonne.
MR. CENSULLO: Right.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: You could do a tie-in between the light rail in Hudson County to the light rail in Essex County, and have direct connection to the airport from all of Hudson County going into Bergen County, which would be a major boon. I think that that, at some point in the future, has to be looked at as a possibility, because of the closeness of the connection between Bayonne and Newark.
Jersey Gardens is immediately across from the Texaco property in the City of Bayonne.
MR. CENSULLO: All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I just want to point that out. The other thing is, I just want to mention -- and Assemblywoman Heck reminded me that the whole South Jersey Project -- we were-- We, at that time, were presented with it and reviewed it at a meeting at St. Peter’s College. What is it, about four years ago?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: At least.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: About four years ago.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And it’s going to be up and running soon.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: It’s going to be running also.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It’s amazing.
MR. CENSULLO: Yes, it will. It should be open 41 to 42 months after the contract was awarded. It’s similar to the Hudson-Bergen effort.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Actually, it’s got to be six years ago, because I’m out of the college -- it’s at least six years.
Okay. Why don’t we move on.
MR. CENSULLO: Charles.
C H A R L E S I N G O G L I A: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the Panel for the opportunity to talk about safety.
As Dan pointed out, this is an important phase for us. And we’re very lucky to have the Hudson-Bergen model as the model of excellence that we’re using now in South Jersey.
In the case of safety for us down there, our three goals are to communicate the safety information to key audiences. And the audiences we identify as school children, all school children; residents; and safety professionals, the men and women that are charged with, then, later on enforcing these rules, like bus drivers, school crossing guards, police, EMT, etc.
At the core of our program is making safety part of the school curriculum. We can only take the message so far. We can only give the tools to the professionals. From that point forward, they have got to carry this. They have got to keep it alive in the schools, keep it alive at the kitchen tables, keep it alive everywhere that adults communicate with children. So our goals here have been to put together a safety video, which we are in the process of doing with local school children. We’re actually focus group-testing this right now in schools all up and down the 32-mile corridor. And we’re looking to hire local students -- give them the opportunity to be in the video and also work on the production of it. So there will be a sense of ownership to it.
We’ve also put together coloring books for younger children. And we’re using the Operation Lifesaver Program, which is a nationally certified freight rail safety program, also applicable in this corridor. And we use the New Jersey Transit Police.
We have a multipart presentation that we have gone out to schools right now. We’re in the process-- We’ve done this program in four communities already. And we’re continuing to move up the corridor and make these presentations using these tools. And we’re getting a lot of good feedback from students, from parents, and from teachers.
In addition, we also have, as we move through and we use the various media and community outlets to keep these messages alive-- You’ll see that we use local and regional newspapers. We run advertisements. We put safety messages on flyers and stick them on doors and in mailboxes. We have community meetings; we have them almost every week. In some town somewhere along this alignment, I, and members from the staff in South Jersey, are standing before parents and teachers and community residents to talk about safety. We hand out materials, show a video, answer their questions.
The public meetings are routine. We’re always ready to go to meetings that we have been invited to: PTAs and PTOs, town councils, Kiwanis. It doesn’t make any difference. If two or more people want to get together and talk about safety, we’ll send a third to do it with them. So the program is really driven by people that want to put as many messages out in as many places as possible, and leave behind the tools and collateral that are going to keep this alive after we’re gone. And a lot of that we learn from our experience here in Hudson-Bergen.
On the next slide, what I have here is a map of the alignment. And I’m only indicating here, for the purposes of the Panel, to show you the areas that we’ve divided the alignment into, and how we’re going forward from one area to another to promote safety.
We’ve already executed the program in Area 1, which happens to be the first area that rail vehicles will be tested in. So it will be the first place that residents and school children see rail traffic, other than the standard freight. We want them to know we’re going to be there, and this is what light rail is, and this is how you behave in an environment with light rail.
We will move up and do the same program in Areas 2 through 6. As light rail comes, we will have already executed the program in those areas. So it is not our intention to have (a) anyone wake up in the morning and see a light rail vehicle or testing vehicle and not know what was happening, and (b) not have the children and the residents prepared for life with light rail or with additional traffic on the line. That’s the program that’s underway now. And as I said, we’re meeting with a great deal of success, and we’re very pleased with it.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you, Charlie.
MR. CENSULLO: Lastly-- First, I think the Panel--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I just want to also point out on the South Jersey line that we can connect-- Again, there is a spur that can connect to the Atlantic City line to allow for connections in the future. So that’s important. Assemblywoman Heck pointed that out.
MR. CENSULLO: I think you’ll agree, the success of our program of education relies on communication. And the Panel will agree that we have the right person in charge of that particular aspect.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely. And one other thing I think is noteworthy, especially in Hudson and Bergen, is that the needs of the seniors and the physically challenged in South Jersey are being met 100 percent. They took an active role in making certain that South Jersey had that piece.
MR. CENSULLO: Yes, they did.
Charlie, can you go to the next slide? (affirmative response)
Lastly, I wanted to mention that, as the Panel, I believe, is aware, there are three environmental impact studies currently underway in Bergen County. Two of them -- one is an extension up the Northern to Tennafly. The second is an extension out the Cross-County alignment to Paterson, our light rail alternatives. And the third is the West Shore alternative, which is a commuter rail option. Public scoping meetings were held in July of 2001. And each of these are working toward a completion in mid-2003.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Those will all be done by mid 2002 or 2003?
MR. CENSULLO: Two thousand three. That’s correct.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: So we’re talking about at least another year.
MR. CENSULLO: That’s correct.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Rooney.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Just for the record, on the West Shore Line-- I’ve been listening to the EIS studies and all of the studies since, probably, the mid-’70s. And I get a little tired of it, because one of the things that is not put on the record, and I try to do it every time, is the fact that when we lost passenger service in the late ’50s, New Jersey maintained its right-of-way for passenger service. However, New York did not. And CSX will not give, willingly, the right-of-way. New Jersey can claim the right-of-way, but without a New York-New Jersey passenger service line, West Shore is dead. We shouldn’t even be studying it. We should just say, “The hell with it, don’t waste our money. Let’s concentrate on the light rail on the Northern, because the rights-of-way are there.”
This is the thing I get fed up with the most, because they throw out this red herring of the West Shore Line every time this discussion comes up. When I made this presentation at that same hearing-- I missed the first hearing, and then they had another one in Teaneck. I went to that, and I made that statement. As I was walking out, somebody handed me a card and smiled and said, “You’re absolutely right.” And I called him. It happens to be a fellow from CSX. He said, “You’re the only one who understands that, or who is willing to say it,” that there is no right-of-way in New York, which kills the West Shore Line.
I wish you would get that message across to these people and tell them to stop wasting our time and money, and let’s put it into something that’s doable, such as the Northern Line.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Okay.
MR. CENSULLO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Anything else?
MR. CENSULLO: That concludes our report.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: That concludes? Okay.
At this point, are there any comments from the Panel before we move on?
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: One quick question, Mr. Chairman. Thanks.
Dan, the time frame -- you said mid-July for the environmental impact statements -- for those three lines of scoping studies that are--
MR. CENSULLO: Mid-2003.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Mid-2003. How does that coordinate with the T-3 reauthorizations and the different Federal funding requirements?
MR. CENSULLO: Well, the T-21 reauthorization is scheduled for the second half of 2003.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Okay.
MR. CENSULLO: So, we should be -- would be timely, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Perfect, okay. That’s what I wanted to see, if those studies would be done in time for that.
MR. CENSULLO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Let me just comment on something that Assemblyman Rooney said. New Jersey had a great deal of foresight, especially on the former commissioner -- Bob Roe was the one who was able to maintain all the rights-of-ways, which was very intelligent. During the Hughes administration, that was done, and that was very intelligent. That’s why we still have all these rights-of-ways.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: And why New York doesn’t.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Nobody in New York had a Bob Roe.
Are there any comments from the audience at this point?
D E N N I S Mc N E R N E Y: Thank you, Chairman, and members of the Panel.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Why don’t you give us your name?
MR. McNERNEY: Dennis McNerney, Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, and I’m a Bergen County Freeholder. I’m actually here today to take up, I guess, on this issue right here.
Just to bring you up to speed on what the Freeholders have done-, last year, we approved a resolution calling for -- having a priority of the Northern Branch of the light rail line. And I’m sure Assemblyman and Mayor of Northvale, Assemblyman Rooney, knows that is the line that Bergen County desperately needs. That whole entire area lacks any type of transportation except for busses. And the busses there are jammed and have been jammed for years. So whatever you can do to make a priority for the Northern Branch is the way to go.
I understand that the county executive this year, and the freeholder board, as well, proved it comprehensive to look at all of the three lines. That’s just in terms of getting the money from the government and through the State, through the Federal government.
There also is the issue, lately, about the diesel multiple units, which have come out now. Apparently, there’s a plan to look at the Cross-County Line to have a diesel type of transportation in there. I’m all right for looking at that, but I really would stress that the committee continue to look at the Northern Branch of the light rail.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblywoman Heck points out that’s only a concept, and that is not--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It’s not being looked at by us.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: It’s not really--
MR. McNERNEY: Right.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I think we had a meeting back in the fall, in which we--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: December.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We discussed all this, and we gave a priority to the Northern.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: We put through a resolution to expand the MOS-3 to include the Northern. And that’s a matter of record. We will promote that. And I’m certain that in a couple of months that will be projected.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: It seems as if, Freeholder -- and I think that everybody seems to be moving in the same direction -- that the Northern is the most--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Most economic.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: --is the most economical and the first to be done. The fact that we’re doing the studies on all three is good, because once you--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Someday we’ll have it.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to do some of the others, because I think there’s a benefit to doing the Cross-County. The West Shore -- I agree with Assemblyman Rooney -- is probably the most difficult to do, because of the fact that the right-of-way begins to be a problem when you hit New York. However, if it could go into New York, you would have a real benefit there. But you can do it on the Northern, which might be the way to do it instead.
But I think that we want to work with the Freeholder Board and the County Executive of Bergen County. And you have three representatives on the Light Rail Panel: Assemblyman Sarlo, Assemblywoman Heck, and Assemblyman Rooney. So you probably have the greatest representation. So hopefully, as this project moves along, we’ll be able to move expeditiously into Bergen County.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Just to add something. Those DMU units that you talked about, that’s actually been put out there by some of the engineers and planners out of the current county executive’s office. I mean, they’re the ones that have been pushing that. But as Rose said--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: But they’ve pushed a lot of things.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: But I mean, we all realize that they are only concept, and I don’t know if they are really a reality. We don’t have sign-offs from all the proper safety agencies and Federal safety standards. So it’s strictly, at this point, a concept. And I do agree that we need to focus in on the Northern Branch Line.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely.
MR. McNERNEY: Well, I appreciate all of your efforts. It’s terrific, the line now. I’m using it, actually, daily.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: You are using it.
MR. McNERNEY: Yeah. I’m in Newport now. I’m working in Newport because of 9-11.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Oh, so that’s great.
MR. McNERNEY: Yes. If we can do it for the Northern Branch-- All the voters in that area, the constituents in that area -- you’re all from Bergen County -- know that we really want it. So whatever effort you can do is terrific.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: All it takes is money.
MR. McNERNEY: That’s right.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: And that’s important. That’s why the funding for T3 is so, so important -- working with the -- and we know that-- We’re very fortunate that our Commissioner of Transportation, James Fox, has the background in Washington. He’s very effective as that refunding takes place, and I know he’s working diligently. And, also, our Commissioner, Brad Campbell, in the Department of Environmental Protection, who also has a lot of experience in Washington-- They’re going to be very helpful in us getting the T3 funding for these projects, especially going to Bergen.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Dan, a quick question.
If we were to go up the Northern Branch Line, would we still go out to Vince Lombardi, or will we bypass Vince Lombardi and go straight up to the Northern Branch Line?
MR. CENSULLO: The current Environmental--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Why don’t you get to the microphone so they can hear you?
MR. CENSULLO: The current Environmental Impact Statement for the Hudson-Bergen system, which was approved back in 1996 and for which we received a record of decision, includes the leg to Vince Lombardi. Should we elect not to, we will have to modify the Environmental Impact Statement for the Hudson-Bergen system. There are several options that we need to consider.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Right. But we could very well have a link to the Vince Lombardi, and then the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail can continue straight up the Northern Branch Line.
MR. CENSULLO: Yes, indeed.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Similar to what you have in Jersey City going out towards--
MR. CENSULLO: Yes, indeed.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: George Street -- Garden Street.
MR. CENSULLO: We just need to go through the environmental process to get Federal approval.
MR. McNERNEY: Thank you. And I appreciate all your efforts on this.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you, Freeholder.
Anyone else in the audience like to make any comments before we move on? (no response)
Next, we’d like to call up Johnny Johnston, the President of 21st Century Rail Corporation -- provide some specifics on what’s happening in the actual construction phase. We want to thank John for the great job he does in coordinating and working with us.
Just come right up, briefly, quickly.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We want to thank you, John.
It’s on. It’s on. Don’t worry. (referring to PA microphone)
We just want to thank you for the great job you’ve been doing in working with us and coordinating and making sure that the project moves ahead. And we deal with a lot of the community issues. I know, on behalf of the entire Panel, we want to thank you.
J O H N C. J O H N S T O N: We’re in our 66th month. Time flies when you’re having fun. We’re doing construction, as Dan and Steve have pointed out, on MOS-2. If you take the time to go from Hoboken, there isn’t, probably, more than a quarter of a mile of right-of-way you can’t see from the road, and there’s work going on there.
When Conrail comes off the River Line and CSX comes off the river line early in June, June 6, we’ll rip up the tracks, and then you’ll really start to see the light rail come out of the ground.
About the same time, we’ll be working in the tunnel with the new 230KV feeders that go through there for PSE&G.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: How long will that project take? I never paid attention.
MR. JOHNSTON: Well, we’re going to be finished in 2005.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, 2005.
MR. JOHNSTON: Everything from Weehawken -- from Port Imperial going north and west.
And we’re also down in Bayonne, as you know, Mayor. And we’re doing reasonably well there, except you’ve got some very hard rock. If the council can see fit to softening it, we would--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: That’s the end of the Palisades that you’re hitting there. (laughter) The Palisades runs right into the Kill Van Kull. So you’re hitting some of the rock of the Palisades right there.
MR. JOHNSTON: Well, I appreciate the opportunity to have been leading this team and working with such good partnership of the five mayors and New Jersey Transit, and the Light Rail Panel.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much. We appreciate your fine job that you and 21st Century Rail have done over the past five years. It seems like it’s longer than that, doesn’t it.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, yeah.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: It seems much longer than that. But in reality, it’s only five years. And we’ve been very successful.
I once said, and I continue to say it, when I first started working on this back in the late 1980s when the Circle of Mobility began-- And I want to always point out that our Speaker, Albio Sires, was appointed by Governor Kean to the Circle of Mobility Task Force. When we first began the discussions of the Circle of Mobility, I figured that by the time the light rail project will be built, I would be in a wheelchair if I was lucky -- if I wasn’t dead.
So, I have to say that we’re all very happy that we’re actually able to walk onto the light rail and actually get places, and we’re still young enough to enjoy it. So this has been a very positive experience. Usually most experiences with government are more negative, especially with bureaucracies.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I think it’s important, again, to note that most of the work that was accomplished early on was done through volunteer work of all those interested -- the New Jersey Association of Passengers. Our Panel was never funded. We did everything without funding. And we came up with brainstorming techniques that brought about DBOM and moved us into a position where-- I remember Joe, at one of the meetings, said, “We anticipated for every dollar invested, we get three back.” And Joe Doria said, “No, we’re getting $10 back for every dollar.” So it is a project of which we can all be proud. And also -- wonderful to say that New Rail and Transit and 21st Century has received many honors because of it.
And we thank all of you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
I want to say that we’ve been able to do this because we’ve worked cooperatively. And this has been a bipartisan effort that really has been successful.
At this point-- One of the people who has worked for this committee as a volunteer from the beginning has done an excellent job working with us and has been with New Jersey Transit -- he’s now, once again, working on this project, the X Project, as a volunteer technical advisor to the Light Rail Panel -- is Jim Greller. And I want to thank Jim for all his past work and for his -- obviously the concept that he’s projecting today as it relates to light rail and, in this instance, the X Project as he calls it.
J A M E S C L I F F O R D G R E L L E R: Thank you very much, Mayor.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: It’s difficult to see this, I know.
MR. GRELLER: It’s a little difficult to see. We’re going to try to put out the lights. But we have problems with the--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Put out some of the lights, maybe. If we can put out some of the lights-- And I don’t know how we do that, to be very honest.
MR. GRELLER: We are using an opaque projector, and we’d like to thank PS-2 for sending it over. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: There is a PS-2 in Bayonne, actually.
MR. GRELLER: It’s almost like audio visual in the--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: There is a PS-2 in Bayonne. It’s Vroom School on 26th Street, which is one of our better schools. So we’re--
Can we get the lights solved? Can we get somebody to take care of the lights? It should be back there.
See, the council uses this chamber, so I’m not accustomed to knowing all the rules here. Usually the mayor doesn’t sit in this seat, the council president does. We’re in -- Faulkner Act form of government.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, really.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes. See, the Faulkner Act form of government-- The mayor does not attend council meetings. The council is the legislative body, the mayor is the executive.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, for heaven’s sake.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: So it’s very different than a lot of other forms.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I have never worked like that, and I’m glad I didn’t. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: So I don’t sit here. The council president sits here.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I was saying, I like this.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: I was looking for your name before. I was looking for your name. I didn’t see your name over here.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: No, my name’s not here. I only sit here when I run town meetings. I have town meetings, and the people come in to talk to me at town meetings. But the council president and the members of the council are the legislative body -- sit here. The mayor is the executive in this form of government and actually runs the city. There’s no--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: No administrative.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: No, no. The mayor runs the city in the form that we have.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: That’s why he gets the big bucks. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: He’s got broad shoulders.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: And now that we’ve given a lesson on the Faulkner Act of municipal government, we’ll wait for the lights to turn down.
MR. GRELLER: Let me just give you some background about the X Project itself. This is a project that’s been in concept -- and I mean concept -- looking at possibilities to take some of the recycled areas -- very similar to what we looked at in the light rail photographs. All the photographs that you saw and the projects that you saw were all begun very much like you’re seeing this project today, where we looked at doable, good, easy to do, accessible, and revitalization, and recycling some of the abandoned facilities, some of the abandoned right-of-ways in our state.
We live in the most congested area. Most of our towns -- most of the business between New York and New Jersey is in the most congested corridor in the country. So, therefore, any possibility that we have of utilizing some of these corridors to make our lives easier and more flexible is very, very important.
The X Project is just called the X Project because we wanted to keep it under wraps for so long. As the author of four books on New York transportation, I had all kinds of highfalutin’ names called the Dual States Project, the Hudson Direct II, and none of them worked because everybody said, “Let me see what the X Project is.” And actually, it could stand for crossing.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: May I say that, Mr. Greller, it’s very difficult to hear you when you’re facing the other way. And they’re recording that. If you speak into the mike, we’d all hear it.
MR. GRELLER: The X Project, actually, is a series of projects. It’s not just one concept. Basically, when you take these concepts and put them together, you have an incredible accessibility, mobility between New York and New Jersey.
Change the slide, would you?
What we’re looking at are new vistas of elevation, of mobility, and economy. And we’re opening up regions that historically have been neglected. We have very few areas of which we can expand in the metropolitan area. The light rail, which is the Hudson-Bergen, has opened up a north and south corridor. That has opened up growth north and south as you can see, when you ride the light rail line. That is new area of development. What the X Project does is a similar thing. It opens up new corridors.
Go right to the next one after that.
Most of this map is not going to show, but the important thing is the map -- the subway map of the City of New York. That will tell you a great deal. This is a map of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. When we looked at the city itself -- the metropolitan city of Manhatten, we see that between Brooklyn and Queens, there are 16 rail connections to and from the boroughs or from Manhatten to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to Queens using the Pennsylvania railroad tunnels and the subway tunnels. Those 16 crossings carry over over 2 million a day to and from the areas.
The basic history of the metropolitan region has always been built on building east. What we have between New York and New Jersey is three rail lines. One is out because of the World Trade Center catastrophe. So, basically, most of our lines are centered right in one, two, three. In this particular area right here, there are 16 rail connections.
In the 1900s, when New York was expanding itself, it expanded east, obviously, in its own borroughs. But when the lines started to reach Brooklyn and Queens, the population in Brooklyn, within five years, doubled. But we’re saying now that you have to look at the whole region.
The growth of the metropolitan region -- and we’ve seen dramatically illustrated in the 9/11 -- was the World Trade Center disaster, where a number of people who come into the midtown, lower Manhatten area -- next slide please -- is the people from New Jersey, people from northern New York. But one of the most important things is the western aspect.
One of the first pieces that will go into the X Project -- it should be X Projects -- is a very simple extension. At the present time, the 14th Street Canarsie Line, which runs from Brooklyn and Queens, connects here to the Eighth Avenue subway.
The 14th Street Canarsie Line is a major crosstown line, which there are only two in the entire town. That connects the Eighth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, Sixth Avenue, IRT, Lexington Avenue, and the BMT Broadway Lines. It will also connect the Second Avenue subway. It is a vital spine line. It also goes out into Queens and into Brooklyn, all the way out to Canarsie.
This line, in the rush hour, carries its passengers in and runs, generally, very light out. The line itself actually ends at Ninth Avenue, which is right here. This distance from Ninth Avenue to Hoboken is probably a mile and a half. What we’re suggesting as one of the first phases of the X Project is to build a tunnel directing the line right into New Jersey into Hoboken. This two-line system is being rebuilt as an automatic train control system. It can run a 10-car train every two minutes. It can move 32,000 people an hour from Hoboken into Manhatten.
This is an enormous boon for such a short trip because what this enables all of our passengers on the Bergen County lines, Pascack Valley Lines, all the Jersey Transit lines -- a two transfer right into the 722-mile subway system in one shot.
Basically, it takes relief. And we will show this in later slides -- what this small tunnel does to really develop an enormous release also on our other crossings.
The Light Rail Panel has always tried to do things that are doable, good, and acceptable and also within a price range. When we’re talking about this tunnel of a mile and a half, we’re talking in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion to $3 billion. But one of the things that the L Line extension-- We talked about it being a mile and a half from Ninth Avenue. The estimated cost is $2.5 billion to $3 billion. The L Line-- We talked about the ability and capacity of this automated L Line to carry this amount of passengers. If we were to move the Hoboken Station to Manhatten, it would require eight blocks by six blocks and miles and miles of tunnel and track.
What the 14th Street Canarsie Subway does is -- able to scoop out these people and move them directly into Manhatten in a way that only moving the terminal could do. But the other thing is that not only does it give a new direction, a new mobility into the heart of the subway system, but also it relieves 2 percent of all the vehicle crossings -- Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, George Washington Bridge -- because now the Bergen County lines, they’re able to attract more passengers into Hoboken. Hoboken becomes a change point for the north-south Hudson-Bergen Line. And also, this will generate a lot of interest in people taking public transportation because, simply, it’s too fast, it’s easy.
Twenty-five percent of the uptown PATH traffic, which is now hemorrhaging because of the 9/11 -- 25 percent of that traffic can switch to the L Line. Four percent of the traffic that goes into the Port Authority bus terminal -- and generally these are a lot of buses that come from the Bergen area and come into the city -- four percent of that traffic can be transferred to the L Line. It relieves 10 percent of the traffic going into Penn Station. We’re talking about congestion in Penn Station, the lack of slots.
Jersey Transit, if you notice-- When Jersey Transit has any trouble, and there has been difficulty to get in Penn Station, the commuter trains are transferred to Hoboken. So that means that they can handle all the traffic from the Northeast Corridor and on the Jersey coast, going directly into Hoboken, where they will get the same transit system that they would get if they were in Penn Station. Also, it supplies volume on the a.m. and p.m. rush, which is where there is volume necessary for the L Line -- in other words, it fills the gap.
One of the things that everybody asks you about these projects is who is going to fund them. And this is a very, very important question, because without the finances, you cannot fund them. You have to look at each one of these aspects almost like a quilt coming together. How they’re sewn together is who finances them.
In the case of the L Line, the MTA has a possibility of financing it, the PA has--
Oh, finally I can see the slide--
The PA has the possibility of financing it, and also Federal recovery money. What we’re trying to do is that-- We’re not narrowing the gap of who can fund it, but widening the possibilities of who can fund it.
A lot of the communities -- very, very obvious when you look at the Hudson-Bergen Line and ride it -- a lot of isolated communities, meaningful communities, are now -- can be connected to a larger transportation picture. Transferring from one line to another is commonplace all over the world. But you first have to have the lines connecting to each other.
The connection expands and adds growth to these areas. The whole west side of Manhatten is rife for development, is rife for regeneration. The whole coast of the Hudson along Hudson County, Essex, Union County, Bergen County is rife for development. How we get development is that we’re able to use the light rail, rail lines, public transportation to move large amounts of people in and out of these areas. But first, you have to reach them.
We mentioned the L Line as the first possibility. The L Line will be able to come into the city. But what we’re talking about is that this is two states -- two major urban areas that have to be helped. A partnership is not going to be developed between two states unless there is something in it for both states.
This rail line here, which was built in the 1930s, and this is where the Javits Center is right now -- and basically, this heavy rail line, which goes underground here, comes up, goes completely elevated -- this was the old post office -- it goes down through the alleys along 10th Avenue, comes down to 14th Street -- is the former New York Central West Shore Line, which was a very brilliant idea in the 1930s, to take all the freight off the streets, move it on a very strong, sturdy, elevated structure. And when you talk about construction, this elevator structure has gone without maintenance lo these 40 years, and it’s still in incredible physical condition.
Built in the late 1930s, it ran until the 1970s. This entire abandoned line-- And why it was very important for the Light Rail Panel really to talk about the X Project now is that the variables, these magical, wonderful areas that we have to rechange and regenerate into transportation corridors, have to be looked at. Otherwise, they become flowerbeds, bikeways, walkways. This is infrastructure. This is important infrastructure. It was built for an important infrastructure to move things.
If the L Line, for instance, which is Part 1, connects to New Jersey, this will generate an awful lot of traffic right over here in the west side, which, by the way, the 14th Street area-- Manhattan is pretty-- Nothing’s there. No one really looks at it. Everybody looks at Grand Central. Everybody looks at Penn Station. But basically, this is an area of development where we will start a real opening of the urban core.
What we plan is that there would be a station here where this station would connect to the light metro -- a light metro, which is an electric railway -- based very similar -- on the principles of the Hudson-Bergen Line.
When we’re talking about transportation, public transportation, the Light Rail Panel was very, very forward looking.
No, the one after that. The one with the two cars. (referring to slides) Is that it? Oh, it’s not there. Okay. Just put the next one on there.
When we’re talking about light rail, and we’re talking about European standards, we’re talking about a level of sophistication of electrical equipment that is unheard of today because basically, you don’t see it, it’s unobtrusive, it’s able to move large amounts of people in and out. This is an area-- This is what the structure looks like today. And I will tell you, it’s concrete poured on steel columns, which are seven inches apart. It was built for locomotives and refrigerated freight cars. So there’s-- Believe me, we could run the New Jersey Transit on it, and there would be no problem. But what we’re looking at is converting this into a light metro system similar to this, where we would have automated cars.
Now, these automated cars would be silent. They would be elevated. It would fit into the neighborhood. And basically, it would connect -- try to move that slide up just a little bit so we can get 14th Street in there. What it will do is it will connect 14th Street down here to a new station. This line would have a station at 23rd Street. Then it goes directly into the Javits Center, which is incredible.
Now, one of the things about projects that you do, and the Light Rail Panel knows this because the Light Rail Panel has often looked at competing projects, projects that wanted also to be funded-- And in the fair argument of the two projects, it was seen in the light of this argument that the better project should go forward and be funded. You have to put your dollars and your money where it really does its most.
Hold that a minute. Just leave that there.
This project that we see here-- We feel that utilizing this line here is very fundamental to the growth of the west side. And we feel that connecting the subway to this line will open up the entire west side area. It also will connect to the Javits Center, which is very key. Now your public transit system in New Jersey is able to attend functions on the west side of Manhattan. And this area in through here, which is the charming area of Chelsea -- this will be unobtrusive to the area. The line could be then extended to an additional new facility up in through here. This is where Arthur Imperatore’s Ferry is now -- also the sightseeing boats of the Circle Line that go around Manhattan and, of course, the Air and Space Museum.
What we would like to see is that we would build a new ferry terminal here where the light metro would not only go to the Javits Center, but also connect to the ferry here. This is key, because on both sides of the river now, and you’ll see in the later slide, we will add new corridors and a new circle, really, of mobility.
Since the 9/11 disaster, we’ve also looked at taking this L Line, which is the older part of the section and also running it downtown to Battery Park City. This is very possible. One of the major difficulties with the Hudson River area and through this area, and it’s a difficult problem -- the West Side Highway cuts right through this. It literally acts like a wall.
We have plenty of room to run a two-track line elevated all the way down to Battery Park City. The stations for this line could act as platforms where pedestrians could go up the escalator, either cross on the promenade and come across on the Hudson side, or get on one of the stations. This will utilize this entire waterfront area and will connect it, through rapid transit, closer to the land side area.
But when these two pieces are built -- and when we have the L Line, which comes in through here to Hoboken into the Jersey Transit suburban lines -- we have the Hudson-Bergen Line, which will come around down into Weehawken. We then have the ferry coming back again. We have a true Circle of Mobility along the Hudson River area. And it will develop both sides of the Hudson.
What we’re also looking at is another possibility. And these are a number of very expensive pieces, each one of them. But each piece--
Each piece, as I had said, is capable of being funded by different areas and by different states. If we’re talking about the light rail people mover, perhaps with the Javits Center, with development, with the development also on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, it’s not far-fetched to think that a private developer would also develop the light rail people mover. The structure is there. The facilities are there. All we have to really add is the tracks and the stations.
The MTA is also a participant. So is the Port Authority. But we have a larger catchment of people that could be interested and take this project.
Basically, we are building connections that build infrastructure in new core areas.
These core areas that existed some years ago are being put back. One of the things, as I talked about before, is some of the projects that you don’t build are also very key when you go into competition. For instance, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has been looking to build a Number 7 line -- and the mayor has been talking about this -- under the Eighth Avenue subway and then into the Javits Center, because the Javits Center, like the Meadowlands, has no public transportation reaching it.
What we are saying is that the MTA, when this little piece -- if you can imagine digging under a four-track mainline subway through rock and then turning to the west side through rock, and it’s all rock under here, it’s going to be about a $3 billion to $4 billion project. We’re saying scrap it. You don’t need that project because if you revitalize this line into a light metro, you have your connection to the Javits Center. In fact, you have a connection to the Javits Center that connects to a major crosstown line.
Now, the other part of the the Number 7 Line is important because this is a third piece of infrastructure that can be built. What we’re suggesting is that you take the Number 7 Flushing Line. Now, this line is a very heavy line that goes out to Flushing, Queens -- massive, 370 cars. It has a phenomenal amount of ridership.
One of the reasons why the 14th Street Line makes more sense, you’ll see later on. And it’s been proposed that the Number 7 Line come to Jersey. I think that’s not the line really to choose. The one which never gets chosen is the 14th Street Line. That is the best one to choose. The Number 7 Line should be extended, but guess where. Four blocks to the ferry terminal.
Now, what does that get for the ferry terminal? Arthur Imperatore has to provide buses out of here, which go to several midtown areas. He can still do that. But now, most of the passengers will have a crosstown line, which will connect with the Eighth Avenue west side lines, the Seventh Avenue, the BMT, and also, by the way, the Lexington Avenue.
So now we have two crosstown lines, this and the 14th Street Line. And we have a connection between the two. And we also have ferry service here, and we have the L Line going to New Jersey with the Hudson-Bergen connecting that. That opens three to four corridors, which can move people in a mobile way.
After 9/11, we have learned that we cannot put all of our bets on one horse. We lose that horse, we’re stuck. We can’t rely on ferry travel, although it’s very commodious and nice. But in the winter months and bad weather, it is very difficult.
These four connections will take the impediment of making transportation by public facilities less irritable. You will build a ferry terminal here that will be able now to have people come over from New Jersey. People from New York come to New Jersey.
And by the way, I will tell you, we looked very slightly when you talk about modeling numbers -- 2 percent here, 3 percent here. It’s very hard to tell. But I will tell you, there’s about 6000 people that ride to Brooklyn and Queens that get off at Hoboken. This would knock off about 20 to 30 minutes off their traveling. This knocks off another fare. So this is an incredible tax relief to a lot of our riders.
Again, the ferry terminal and the extending of the Number 7 Line can be a private-public, private-PA, marina, aviation and the City of New York-- There’s an enormous amount of money that Washington is sending to New York and the metropolitan area for relief funds. When we’re talking $3 billion to $4 billion, we’re not talking about a big piece of this money. But what we are talking about is a major headache being lifted off the burden of the people who have to work and travel between New York and New Jersey, the western aspect of the metropolitan area.
We’re going to recap some of the benefits of what the X Project can do for New Jersey, which, by the way-- There’s another slide here which I want to show you at the end, which is very, very interesting. And I’ll put that in as a teaser.
The X Project creates a two-fare zone into New York. Basically, all the thousands -- and we figure that 45,000 people change to the MTA subway system from Penn Station. On opening day, 27,000 will change to the L Line from Hoboken. What this does for Essex and Bergen County is it ignites a flame because, basically now, everybody can get on a train on any of the Jersey Transit suburban lines that go into Hoboken and, basically, get to Manhattan by getting off the train in Hoboken and going into the subway. They still have the choice of the PATH, of course. They also have the choice of the Hudson-Bergen Line going north and south to Jersey City, Bayonne, and northern Bergen County for offices, businesses, and living.
But the major thing is that these Bergen Lines -- and I can’t think of a single thing that would really ignite ridership than having that direct connection into New York and taking away another fare.
What it also does is it gives New Jersey Transit a redundancy. This is very, very key. When they talk about rebuilding Penn Station, you could put 10 tracks underneath here, go all the way from here to kingdom come in New Haven. It still doesn’t matter, because the section between here and the drawbridge and Newark is a two-track drawbridge area. Any accident there-- It’s over. You can’t get into New York. It’s finished.
But if we cross, as we do today, where we go with trains coming from the Northeast Corridor-- We have trains going directly into Hoboken today. If that case of an emergency happens, Jersey Transit now has the flexibility to take all these thousands of riders and flush them right into Hoboken and then to the L Line. And I will tell you, those two facilities will be able to handle it. What you also do is you take Hoboken, which is a genteel suburban station, and make it one of the most important railway connections in America.
The X Project -- what it can do for New York: Well, first of all, it reduces traffic at the Port Authority bus terminal, which is a minor miracle in itself. It reduces 2 percent on all bridge tunnel crossings. That’s very, very important, because we not only have to take -- add to areas, we have to take away. It’s the minus that really shows the benefit of the facility. We take 2 percent, that means more buses can get in there, and it means that more cargo can get in there.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Jim, I just want you to give me a little bit more information. We’ve discussed this before. You’re talking about the George Washington Bridge, as well, when we’re talking about the Jersey side?
MR. GRELLER: Yes. We’re talking about every crossing.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes. But talk to me about the George Washington Bridge.
MR. GRELLER: It takes 2 percent off of that.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: What does that mean in terms of the cars, roughly?
MR. GRELLER: I don’t know off hand. I can’t give you that answer off hand.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It could be more than 2 percent. This is just, again, conjecture on your part.
MR. GRELLER: Exactly. These are the figures that we looked at.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You’re being conservative in the way you’re looking at this.
MR. GRELLER: Right. Part of this unveiling is that study would go into this to really see the value. We’ve been very, very conservative on touting any numbers.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I think this is one of the first projects that shows that you can take car traffic off the road and still give you a better way of getting back and forth -- New York-New Jersey.
MR. GRELLER: Exactly.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And you get the most return for your dollars that you’re spending.
MR. GRELLER: Right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: This is not an astronomical amount to gain all of these positives.
MR. GRELLER: No. In my mind, Assemblywoman-- Knowing the transportation picture of these two states all my life, I cannot think of a better way in which you could spend this kind of money and get the enormous benefit that will not only spill out into Hudson but into Bergen, into Essex, into Union, into Somerset, into Mercer because it will add a new idea in everybody’s head that market-- “I can get on the train, get off at Hoboken, walk to the subway. I’m in my office. I save 20 minutes.” And this is an incredible thing. We cannot grow any larger unless we grow the ability to move like a blood system -- more people in and out of this area. And I think this can do it.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So you’re clearing some of the cars off the roads, off the bridges, and the connections.
MR. GRELLER: Exactly.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And you’re adding different ways of getting back and forth. You’re also stimulating the ferry business and the light rail.
MR. GRELLER: Exactly.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And you’re also looking at some of the revitalization of areas that have not had that in years.
MR. GRELLER: Right. No, none at all. In fact, there’s never been, really, a direct way that anybody from northern Bergen County on those lines in the Jersey City area-- They’ve always had to take the PATH, which is not the subway system. They have to get out again and take another train. Trust me, most of our state is very suburban.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And last but not least, you’re improving the quality of life because it’s shortening the length of travel.
MR. GRELLER: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Okay. Thank you.
MR. GRELLER: Absolutely. And what it also does-- It will grow volume on all the Jersey Transit lines in Bergen County because more people will be taking it. Therefore, when you go to the trough for more money, you’ve got the volume that says, “We need it.”
I think-- I don’t know if we finished this here. We have--
The real estate on the west side will go up. And, of course, we have the Javits Center.
But basically, when we talk about adding all of these things, we’re talking about billions of dollars over the next decade. But with $4 billion to $5 billion that we spend, we turn this into billions of dollars worth of development.
And I want to show you one last slide.
One of the major interesting things -- why we talked about the 14th Street Corridor, which is very, very key-- The 14th Street Corridor is the corridor to really go, and I’ll tell you why, because of it’s connectivity to other things.
This is Hoboken Station. This is an aerial photograph. The Jersey Transit Lines now go into this tunnel right here. This is the Bergen Hills. The Hudson-Bergen will come up here, utilize the old West Shore New York Central Railroad Line up to here. This gets abandoned. Guess who owns it? The State of New Jersey.
This is the Bergen Arches. The Bergen Arches are all there, sitting there unused since the 1970s. The Bergen Arches are about 5000 feet from here. We’re talking four blocks this way, which we would have to purchase. We’re then talking 5000 feet this way. We go through the Bergen Arches, and then you can take a baseball and throw it and hit Secaucus Transfer because that’s where our line goes. And guess what. The 14th Street Canarsie Line can now go all the way to the Secaucus Transfer.
When we’re talking about the value of the Secaucus Transfer, we now do not have bi-level cars. So therefore, when people get off of the Bergen Lines, they’re going to find very crowded trains. They’ve already been crowded since Trenton, Princeton, Edison, and also from South Jersey.
What we can do is take the investment that the taxpayers put in Secaucus Transfer, and now make it a massive connective station, because now you can get on the Northeast Corridor, get off at Secaucus Transfer and take a subway train into midtown Manhattan. Midtown Manhattan people can now take a subway train to the Secaucus Transfer and get to the airport.
From here to here, you’re talking about six miles. So basically, from Hoboken to here, you have about seven miles. This right-of-way -- 90 percent of it is owned by the Department of Transportation, NJ Transit. It’s all there. If I took you on a walk and showed you this, the simplicity of this is mind boggling.
Now, from Secaucus Transfer, the next stop would be the Meadowlands. That’s an incredible thing, because now we would have the New York City subway system directly connected to one of the largest facilities in the country for sports and arenas.
One of the major hemorrhaging problems about the Meadowlands has been the lack of public transit getting there. And basically, the L Line ends it.
The other thing that this will also do is that it gives a flexible mobility to the people in Bergen County. They can either ride into Hoboken or get right off here and take the subway. If there is any difficulty in New York, trains can be turned back. People can move into Manhattan via the 14th Street Line.
What we can also do is add a station in the Kennedy Boulevard area, thus bringing the development that is really exploding on the waterfront up to the northern part of town. And that is incredible if we can do that. Basically, all the facilities are here. They sit there being unused, and they have been, lo these many decades. That the 14th Street Canarsie Line comes across into the Jersey Shore and comes into Hoboken really behooves us to look at this particular right-of-way, because it now gives the entire state massive flexibility and massive opportunity that we can grow and move people in and out of this state in a better way. It’s what the Light Rail Panel does best.
As we look at smart growth, we look at economies that can be saved in infrastructure -- reuse of infrastructure to makes something mighty, and I think the X Project does that.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
We can put the lights back on.
Thank you very much, Jim. We want to thank you for your presentation.
I want to emphasize that one of the things that the Light Rail Panel has done in the past, and we want to continue to do, is be a forum for our new ideas and new concepts. And I think this is a concept that deserves further study. I think it’s the type of forum that we want to be able to be. So, we want to thank Jim Greller for his presentation.
I think that a lot of what’s being presented here makes sense. I think the issue of taking cars off the road and the ability to take cars off the road is very important -- also, the relief to the PATH system. The PATH system, as we know, right now, since the tragedy of 9/11, is overburdened. The cars, at the present time, can’t take any more passengers. Sometimes people have to wait for two or three trains to be able to get on. This will allow, and the concept here would help to decrease by 25 percent, travel on the uptown portion of the PATH, which, to my mind, is something very important for us in Hudson County.
So, obviously, we will continue to have discussions with Jim Greller. And we thank him for making this presentation. And we’ll be talking with the appropriate authorities at the State and also with the appropriate metropolitan region -- the Port Authority, and I know Sue Osterguard is here from the Port Authority, as well as discussions with New York City to discuss the feasibility of moving forward with this concept.
This is how we began Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. And hopefully, in a few years, we can see some of these projects moving forward to, especially, those that will relieve congestion and pollution here on the Jersey side of the river.
We want to thank everyone.
Is there anyone who wants to make any comments at this point?
Yes, come forward please. Give us your name.
J O S E P H L E P I S: How are you doing?
I’m Joe Lepis. I’m an environmental specialist with Hudson Regional Health Commission.
Not being aware of how the agenda was running, I probably should have made my remarks earlier.
However, having done environmental inspections in Hudson County for the last 30 years, I realize that this project -- especially the light rail -- is up there at the level of the tunnel crossings, the Turnpike extension to New Jersey, the PATH trains in terms of giving the citizens the mobility and the quality of life that they deserve.
As with all projects that are new and growing, there are growing-pains. But I really want to congratulate light rail and New Jersey Transit for their addressing of some of the growing-pains, whether they were rough edges and squeaky wheels, both figuratively and literally. They did cooperate with dealing with citizens’ problems and complaints, and were very good about doing that.
I want to especially thank Lou Romano, who was participating and did some very--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Dr. Lou we always remember. Yes, we do.
MR. LEPIS: --very extensive and hard work in terms of helping deal with some of those concerns, also.
A few thoughts: the one section, having done traveling through Hudson County-- The one section of roadway that-- Once the decision was made to put the Hoboken section on the west side instead of the east side-- If you travel-- I’ve never seen a section with more development of properties that were in really run down condition and everything else. And the whole idea of revitalizing an area really is occurring because of this.
Finally, this whole project follows the State concept and thinking with regard to zoning and development and everything else. You reuse areas of infrastructure rich locations before you devour any open space. I think that’s exactly what’s occurring here, and people should be praised and congratulated.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Mr. Lepis.
Any other comments? Anyone else in the audience have any comments at this point? (no response) Any members of the Panel?
Yes, Assemblyman Sarlo.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If we can, Dan-- Would you be able to get us either a memo or, for the the next hearing, some type of update on the three lines -- like the pros and cons to-date, whether it’s right-of-way, what communities have signed on, environmental concerns, things of that nature, cost factors -- for the three lines that go into Bergen, pros and cons. I mean, I know they’re not permanent yet, because the final studies won’t be out until mid-2003, but at least we’ll have an update of where we’re at.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Some preliminaries on the EIS.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Exactly.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblywoman Heck.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I know you don’t have control over the EIS or the hearings, but we did ask for, back in December, transcripts of the hearings -- of all the hearings that were held on the EIS. We were supposed to get it.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: A summary would be better, though. We don’t want to hear all--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Actually, Assemblywoman Heck wants to read them.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I want it. I like to read them, I was there.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: That’s a little bedtime reading.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Oh, I know.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And I like to see what they put together.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Anyone else? (no response) Any other comments from Assemblyman Rooney?
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: No, thanks. Thanks for your hospitality.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Okay. We want to thank everyone.
I want to thank New Jersey Transit, especially Dan Censullo and Steve and Charlie, as well as Johnny Johnston for all the help they’ve given us and the job that they’re doing on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, as well as the South Jersey Light Rail and the projects in Essex and Union County. I think the projects are moving along at a very good pace. And everything’s being done in, I think, an expeditious and efficient manner. So, we want to thank them.
I want to thank Jim Greller for taking time out to make the presentation on X Project. We’ll be having further discussions with him. It’s elicited a great deal of interest, and I think it’s a good beginning to see how we move forward.
With that, I just want to thank the OLS staff for coming down here to Bayonne and taping the hearing.
I thank Joe Waks and thank everyone who is here present.
And we will be having another meeting, hopefully, within the next month to six weeks.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.