Englewood mayor hopes to jump-start Bergen County light rail plan

21 April 2014 64 views No Comment

Dear Residents:

Please see article below entitled: “Englewood mayor hopes to jump-start Bergen County light rail plan” in today’s Record.

I am very pleased to have held the first meetng of the Mayors Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission where there was a unanimous vote to support this much needed project.

Please stay tuned for more to come.


Mayor Frank Huttle III

Englewood mayor hopes to jump-start Bergen County light rail plan

APRIL 21, 2014, 3:15 PM LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014, 6:41 PM

Linda A. Mosch, senior director, budget and administration capital planning and programs discussing service at Monday’s meeting.
ENGLEWOOD — Mayor Frank Huttle III hopes to jump-start a long stalled plan to bring light rail service to Bergen County by emphasizing the economic benefits a thriving light rail system can bring to the rest of the state.

Huttle, joined by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, on Monday held the first meeting of the “Mayors’ Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission” at bergenPAC where more than a dozen officials began crafting a strategy for moving the project closer to construction.

Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle III during Monday’s meeting.
The light rail system is run by NJ Transit and named Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, but it only operates in Hudson County – from Bayonne up to Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen. But Bergen County officials have long been pushing NJ Transit to extend the line further north into Bergen County. Three years ago, there appeared to be some movement on the project when a proposal called for extending the light rail to Tenafly, but strong opposition from that town in 2012 forced NJ Transit to eliminate that option and bring the proposed terminus to Englewood.

Since then, a new proposal had emerged that would allow the line to continue on from Tonnelle Avenue to stops in Ridgefield, Palisades Park and Leonia, before ending in Englewood. Once constructed, the nine-mile stretch would take 33 minutes, said Linda Mosch, a senior director in NJ Transit’s capital planning office. New to the latest proposal is the addition of a parking garage at Englewood Hospital – the first of three proposed stops in the city — and the possibility of additional parking in downtown Englewood, Huttle said Monday.

John C. Leon, NJ Transit’s senior director of government and community relations, told the group that NJ Transit staff is currently working on a new supplemental document to send to the Federal Transit Administration that will outline the changes. He said that document should be ready to submit to the FTA this fall, and that public hearings will likely be scheduled for the spring of 2015.

Funding, however, has been one of the main obstacles to the project. No source of cash has been identified.

An official from Congressman Bill Pascrell’s office told the group that the project, expected to cost nearly $1 billion, could apply for funding that would require a state match. He said the state has to have a solid plan and a commitment to contributing a 50 percent match to qualify for the federal funding program.

Huttle said the mayors’ commission – which voted on Monday to support the project and advocate for its completion – is just the beginning of creating a unified voice that he hopes will strengthen the state’s position, and encourage Trenton lawmakers to provide a funding match.

Fulop said that although Jersey City has light rail, it stands to benefit from an extension in Bergen County. Jersey City, he said, has had massive growth in jobs, but can’t build more roads to bring people into the city. “More access points and the better that light rail system is, the better Hudson will be and the better Bergen will be,” said Fulop.

“We want to coordinate an effort, multi-county, and create the understanding it’s a statewide issue,” said Fulop. “It creates jobs. It makes Jersey more competitive and it’s important to the entire state.”

Huttle said he expects a final document to go to the FTA in the summer of 2015.

Email: rouse@northjersey.com

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/englewood-mayor-hopes-to-jump-start-bergen-county-light-rail-plan-1.1000203#sthash.jNJVLoJF.dpuf

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