Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Governor Corzine supports multimodal regional initiative to boost mobility and economic development
Woodbury, NJ – The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) today presented its recommendations for the extension of southern New Jersey light rail from Camden City to Glassboro. DRPA conducted an extensive transit planning study that focused on identifying transportation needs and solutions for southern New Jersey. The agency recommended a multimodal approach to meet the transportation needs of New Jersey’s residents.
At a gathering of business and community leaders today, Governor Jon S. Corzine endorsed the extension of the light rail system from Camden City to Glassboro, as recommended by the DRPA.
The line will run from the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden to Woodbury after completion of Phase 1 and will cost $600 million just to get started.
DRPA Executive John Mattheusen said work could start on the rail line as early as five years from now. The line is expected to take anywhere from six to eight years to complete.
Plans call for the train to stop in Gloucester City, in Westville at Crown Point Road and Red Bank Avenue and terminate at Cooper Street in Woodbury, but only through the first phase.
Upon completion of the entire project, the rail will run from Camden through Woodbury and all the way to Glassboro, with stops in Sewell and Pitman as well.
The endorsement comes at the end of a two-year alternatives analysis and planning study undertaken by DRPA to identify transportation needs and solutions for Southern New Jersey. The study concluded that expanding transit choices would improve accessibility to jobs and employment centers, reduce roadway congestion, better utilize existing highway medians/shoulders and railroad rights of way, and enhance connectivity to recreational areas.
“Expanding the light rail to serve even more South Jersey communities and commuters will help lessen highway congestion, create much-needed new jobs and infrastructure improvements and spark crucial economic growth and centralized development,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts (D-Camden). “This plan is also forward-thinking, laying the groundwork for more improvements that have potential to benefit the region for years to come. I look forward to seeing the economic opportunities this plan will create.”
“These kinds of infrastructure expansion projects not only serve as an economic magnet for the region to attract business, they create construction-related jobs as well as long term career opportunities for residents in our region,” said State Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D- Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem).
“This project will equate to one of the largest transportation improvements this area has seen in years and is great news for South Jersey,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden). “This expansion will help reduce congestion on our highways and roads and enhance mass transit options for our commuters, but it will do much more than that. It will create jobs and spark economic growth and sensible development centered around transit hubs. The benefits will spread far and wide and position South Jersey’s economic to thrive.”
The DRPA also recommended that a study in partnership with NJ TRANSIT be conducted to include Express Bus-type service utilizing routes 42 and 55, with dedicated lanes and park-and-ride lots for service from southern New Jersey to Walter Rand Transportation Center and Downtown Philadelphia. In addition, NJ TRANSIT and the DRPA will review options to improve the Atlantic City Rail Line with the goal of improving the connection between southern New Jersey communities, Atlantic City and Philadelphia; and to increase access to Atlantic City Airport.
According to DRPA CEO and PATCO President, John J. Matheussen, “I am personally proud of what all of us working together have accomplished, where we are today and what our actions here today will mean for South Jersey. There can be no finer example of a region coming together to address its transportation, environmental, and economic issues and developing a solution that will make a difference. South Jersey, IT’S OUR TURN!”
“Having a rail system that is situated so that a large number of residents can walk to the train rather than take a car is a winning situation for us and all of the surrounding municipalities with downtown businesses that are struggling,” said Woodbury Mayor Rob Curtis.
The DRPA will initiate the next round of public outreach on the light rail extension and the recommended options and will continue the next phases of the planning process.
A rapid transit line will also be planned to parallel Route 42 in Williamstown with a spur on Route 55 to Route 47, the Delsea Drive. This is planned to be a bus line and will travel from Williamstown Rd. into Philadelphia.
The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross Bridges, PATCO and the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal. The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry.