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Lawmakers outraged over recent NJ transit delays
Lawmakers outraged over recent NJ transit delays

TRENTON, NJ (PIX11) — After another nightmarish week for New Jersey Transit riders, state lawmakers are speaking out.

“New Jersey Transit has gone off the rails this week, pun intended,” said Republican Rep. Chrisitopher DePhillips, who sits on the Assembly Transportation Committee. “The first thing we should do is force New Jersey Transit to reverse the 15 percent fare increases that will go into effect in July.”

Democratic Rep. Clinton Calabrese, chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, knows no rider wants to pay more, but money has to be spent to fix things. After nighttime commuter nightmares like Thursday’s, Amtrak and the federal government need more investment, he says.

“A lot of what’s happening along the rail line, especially what you saw (on Thursday), is due to a lack of investment by Amtrak, and that’s simply due to a lack of government funding,” Calabrese said.

“It’s outrageous that the problem has not been resolved,” said Republican Senator Declan O’Scanlon. “Why don’t we threaten to stop paying Amtrak? They’re not keeping their end of the bargain.”

The governor’s office referred our questions to NJ Transit. On Friday afternoon, NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett released a statement:

“We are as frustrated as our customers, and the frequency and impact of these issues on our customers’ quality of life is clearly unacceptable. Regarding today’s incident specifically, we have posted track maintenance supervisors at Newark Penn Station to review trains in light of recent incidents. The affected train was thoroughly inspected prior to departure from Newark, including the pantograph, and no deficiencies were found.

“We continue to work with Amtrak to determine the root cause of the recent spate of incidents on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which include a number of issues. For example, Amtrak reported that yesterday’s incident was caused by one of their circuit breakers affecting power between Philadelphia and New Haven. What we can say is that we operate approximately 700 trains each weekday on hundreds of miles of track on 11 rail lines using the same equipment, and these incidents are occurring primarily on just this one section of track on the NEC between Newark and New York. We continue to offer Amtrak our support to resolve the issue.”

By Seren