TRANSPORTATION

Rail Problems Crossing the Hudson Cause Tension Between NJ Transit, Amtrak

By Michael Hill
Correspondent

Long before the morning rush hour trains rolled, NJ Transit tweeted to anticipate delays — like the ones that made Keisha Williams late for work all last week to New York.
 
“It was just horrible. The delays,the stopping and going,” said Williams.
 
Williams is among thousands of commuters who’ve had it with the train trouble. Both NJ Transit and Amtrak have apologized to commuters.
 
The issue over the last week: Amtrak’s power lines failing in the century-old, across the Hudson River tunnels it shares with NJ Transit. Amtrak’s CEO says the railroad needs a steady stream of money for several fixes.
 
Amtrak’s electrical problems have touched off a firestorm of finger-pointing for failed attempts to improve transportation across the Hudson River.
 
Gov. Chris Christie killed the building of two tunnels under the Hudson five years ago because New York State and City were paying nothing. He says if elected president,
 
“If we’re all in this even steven, if we’re all going to put in an equal share, then lets go build these tunnels underneath the Hudson River and we’re all in equal,” said Christie.
 
Christie’s called for a state investigation and blasted Amtrak as indifferent to New Jersey commuters. He says it has abject neglect of the infrastructure.

In an editorial, NJ Advance Media blasted the governor as delusional, saying his attack is the final proof that he has lost his mind. Either that, or he thinks the rest of us have lost ours.
 
“Well rather than killing it, it would have been better if we were able to work out the financial problems and keep going with it,” said Joel Horowitz.

Sen. Bob Menendez has been pushing for a six year, multibillion dollar transportation bill that would include building two new trans-Hudson tunnels.

“We’re not going to see real relief till for commuters until we get new infrastructure,” said Menendez.
 
“We are in a crisis,” said Sen. Cory Booker.
 
Booker says he’s working to better fund passenger rail service. He says every New Jerseyan is paying an extra $1,900 because of inadequate infrastructure — idling in traffic jams and damage to cars.
 
When asked if it is ironic that Gov. Christie is criticizing Amtrak, Booker said, “You Know, look. I’m not looking backwards at all and I’m not criticizing the governor at all. My exchange with the governor over the last 24 hours have been incredibly constructive and productive.”
 
The Regional Plan Association’s says may be the governor didn’t see it coming, increased ridership across the Hudson, the job growth in Manhattan, worsening traffic.
 
“The value of a comfortable train ride across the river has increased just as our infrastructure across the Hudson river has kept deteriorating,” said Juliette Michaelson of The Regional Plan Association.
 
Meanwhile there’s a new app for transit commuters to use to sound off and share the misery while they wait not for the next train but for some real improvement.