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The Project The Project Study Area Purpose and Need for the Study
Alternatives Considered Study Process Public Involvement
Contacts

The Project

Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties together represent a significant region - a place to live, work, and engage in recreation. How the transportation system is managed and improved will influence the kinds of benefits as well as the impacts that growth will bring. Will travelers have choices in how they get to work or to recreational venues? Will local and longer-distance travel increasingly mean traveling on roadways that are congested for longer periods of the day? Will multiple modes of transportation be available to provide convenient travel to and through the region?

Answers to these questions will influence the economic vitality, ease of access and mobility, and the quality of life for the region into the future. To identify potential capital investments that may be made to address them, NJ TRANSIT is preparing an Alternatives Analysis for this three county region, which examines nine options for restoring passenger rail service to this area, as compared with a baseline alternative. To ensure eligibility for future Federal funding, the MOM study will follow the requirements and procedures prescribed by Federal Transit Administration (FTA). These include: definition of alternative improvements to address unmet transportation needs, identification of their potential social, economic, or environmental impacts, and standardized evaluation of their benefits and costs in relation to a baseline alternative consisting of reasonable low-cost measures that address the same needs (see The Study Process below). Once a Preferred Alternative is selected through a defined screening process tied to the goals and objectives, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for that alternative.

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The Project Study Area

The primary study area is located approximately 32 to 60 miles south of New York City. The total population of Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties in 2000 was approximately 1,880,000, of which approximately 580,000 live within the designated primary study area.

Click here to view a map of the primary study area.

Primary Study Area Communities

Monmouth County

  • Aberdeen
  • Colts Neck
  • Eatontown
  • Englishtown
  • Farmingdale
  • Freehold Borough
  • Freehold Township
  • Howell
  • Manalapan
  • Marlboro
  • Matawan
  • Red Bank
  • Shrewsbury Borough
  • Shrewsbury Township
  • Tinton Falls
  • Wall
Ocean County
  • Lakewood
  • Lakehurst
  • Manchester
  • Toms River
  • Jackson
Middlesex County
  • Jamesburg
  • Monroe
  • South Brunswick

The service market area covers a broad area in Central New Jersey where the effects of the project will be less direct and from which MOM rail alternative ridership is likely to be attracted.

The service market area includes all of Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties, as well as the following communities in Somerset and Mercer counties.

Click here to view a map of the service market area.

Service Market Area Communities

Somerset County

  • Franklin Township
  • Rocky Hill

Mercer County

  • Princeton Borough
  • Princeton Township
  • West Windsor
  • East Windsor
  • Hightstown
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Purpose and Need for the Study

During the past three decades, thousands of people residing in the older urban core of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area have relocated to Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties. Many of these residents continue to work in the urban areas to the north, placing heavy demands on the existing commuter rail and bus services in the tri-county area as well as on the highways. Rail transportation facilities that exist (Northeast Corridor Line, North Jersey Coast Line), hug the perimeters of the primary study area, leaving a wide area in between without direct rail service. Using the highway network in place, bus service has continued to evolve, filling in the gaps where possible. However, the need for a commuter rail alternative through the middle of the study area has long been identified, and is the subject of numerous studies of the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex transportation problem.

Click here to view a map of the region.

The 1996 MOM Major Investment Study indicated that transportation investment was needed in the primary study area due to the following existing and forecasted reasons:

  • Growth and development in the region continue at high rates.
  • Increased travel is causing congestion and stretching transit capacity.
  • Most municipalities in the primary study area do not have direct access to public transit in their towns. Residents in these municipalities lack rail service and any nearby bus service is often inconvenient and limited.
  • Delay affects all transit users, but commutes by bus or rail from the southern part of the primary study area generally take at least two hours from door to door.
  • Air quality is a serious problem.

While transportation investments have been programmed and implemented in the primary study area in the intervening years, each of the above reasons for needing a major investment continue to exist.

This study will seek to address the following goals and objectives:

Mobility and Access: Promote development of a well-integrated commuter rail system; expand access; reduce travel times; relieve congestion, increase off-peak usage of the system; improve travel opportunities by the transit-dependent

Environment: Improve air quality; minimize adverse impacts on residential, economic, natural, built environments.

Efficiency: Maximize use of existing rail corridors; maximize social return on capital investment; improve rail network cost-effectiveness; increase revenue potential

Safety, Reliability, Security: Minimize transfers, minimize access distance to stations; provide cost-effective safety enhancements.

Policy Support: Support state development plans and transit-oriented development; maximize community acceptance, consensus, and institutional support.
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Alternatives Considered

The study considers eleven possible future alternatives. Nine build alternatives are for commuter rail service to New York Pennsylvania Station, on three different alignments utilizing either the North Jersey Coast Line (NJCL) or Northeast Corridor (NEC), and routing to NYPS via either the existing North River tunnels or the Trans-Hudson Express (THE) tunnel. The use of dual-mode locomotives is proposed to allow one-seat ride service in those alternatives that establish a direct track connection to the existing rail network. Passengers traveling to Lower Manhattan would transfer to the PATH at Newark. The tenth alternative is a future No Build Alternative and the eleventh is an FTA-required Baseline alternative that includes the future No Build as well as Transportation Systems Management improvements.

Click here to view a map of the alternatives with the proposed candidate station sites.

Red Bank Alternatives

The Red Bank commuter rail alternatives use an approximately 26-mile route running along the existing NJ TRANSIT- and Conrail-owned Southern Secondary freight line from Manchester Township to Red Bank through the communities of Lakehurst, Manchester, Dover, Jackson, Lakewood, Howell, Wall, Colts Neck, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Shrewsbury, and Red Bank. Trains join NJ TRANSIT's North Jersey Coast Line at the existing Red Bank station via a new at-grade crossing for direct service to New York.

  • Alternative RB2: Red Bank-Manchester (Two Tracks): This alternative is a mostly two-track railroad that reconstructs existing freight lines to two tracks within existing right of way along its entire route. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Howell (two stations), and Tinton Falls. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative RB1: Red Bank-Manchester (Single-Track): This alternative is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight tracks upgraded to passenger standards. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Howell (one station), and Tinton Falls. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative RF1: Red Bank-Freehold-Manchester (Single-Track): This alternative expands Alternative RB1 service area by providing an additional branch to Freehold Township along the route of the existing Freehold Secondary via the connection between the two lines at Farmingdale. It is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight tracks upgraded to passenger standards. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Howell (one station), and Tinton Falls. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst). A layup yard is also proposed for a section of Freehold Township for overnight storage of trains on the branch line.

Matawan Alternatives

The Matawan commuter rail alternatives use an approximately 32-mile route that runs on the existing NJ TRANSIT- and Conrail-owned Southern Secondary and Freehold Secondary freight lines (via new connections at Farmingdale and Freehold Borough), and on the NJ TRANSIT-owned right of way of the former Freehold Branch to Matawan. The route passes through the communities of Lakehurst, Manchester, Dover, Jackson, Lakewood, Howell, Farmingdale, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Marlboro, Morgantown, Aberdeen and Matawan. Trains join NJ TRANSIT's North Jersey Coast Line at the existing Matawan station (via a new at-grade track connection) for direct service to New York.

  • Alternative MA2: Matawan-Manchester (Two Tracks): This alternative is a mostly two-track railroad built within existing freight right of way. From Manchester to Freehold Borough, it reconstructs the existing freight line to two tracks within the existing right of way. From Freehold Borough to Matawan, it uses new track constructed in a former railroad right of way, and relocates Monmouth County's Henry Hudson Trail (which currently occupies the right of way) alongside the new line. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Marlboro, and Morgantown. In addition, a transfer platform at Aberdeen-Matawan is proposed to allow passengers to travel more easily towards Long Branch on the NJCL. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative MA1: Matawan-Manchester (Single-Track): This alternative is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight track upgraded to passenger standards. From Freehold Borough to Matawan, it constructs new track in a former railroad right of way, superseding the Henry Hudson Trail (which currently occupies the right of way). New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Marlboro, and Morgantown. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative MA1r: Matawan-Manchester (Single-Track with Trail): This alternative is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight track upgraded to passenger standards. From Freehold Borough to Matawan, it constructs new track in a former railroad right of way, relocating the Henry Hudson Trail alongside the new line. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Marlboro, and Morgantown. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).

Monmouth Junction Alternatives

The Monmouth Junction commuter rail alternatives use an approximately 38-mile route that runs on the existing NJ TRANSIT and Conrail-owned Southern Secondary, Freehold Secondary, and Jamesburg Branch freight lines to Monmouth Junction on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor via a new connection at Farmingdale. It runs through the communities of Lakehurst, Manchester, Dover, Jackson, Lakewood, Howell, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Manalapan, Englishtown, Monroe, Jamesburg and South Brunswick. A new tunnel or transfer connection to the Northeast Corridor is provided at Monmouth Junction for travel to New York.

  • Alternative MJ2: Monmouth Junction-Manchester (Two Tracks): This alternative is a mostly two-track railroad that reconstructs existing freight lines to two tracks within existing rights of way along its entire route. A new two-track tunnel connection to the Northeast Corridor is required to provide direct, one-seat ride service to New York. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Manalapan, Jamesburg, and South Brunswick. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative MJ1t: Monmouth Junction-Manchester (Single Track): This alternative is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight tracks upgraded to passenger standards. A new two-track tunnel connection to the Northeast Corridor is required to provide direct, one-seat ride service to New York. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Manalapan, Jamesburg, and South Brunswick. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).
  • Alternative MJ1x: Monmouth Junction-Manchester (Single Track): this alternative provides a two-seat (transfer) connection to existing Northeast Corridor at Monmouth Junction. It is a mostly single-track railroad that uses existing freight tracks upgraded to passenger standards. New stations are proposed in Manchester, Toms River (Dover Township), Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Manalapan, Jamesburg, and South Brunswick. In addition, a new transfer station is proposed for a site alongside the Northeast Corridor in South Brunswick with platforms and overpasses to facilitate transfer between Alternative MJ1x trains and Northeast Corridor trains. A train storage yard is proposed on property currently belonging to the U.S. Navy's Naval Engineering Station (NAES Lakehurst).

The No Build Alternative

  • The No Build Alternative represents the future conditions in the study area if no improvements, other than committed improvements, were made. The No Build alternative for the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex project includes THE Tunnel as well as other regional improvements. This alternative will be used as a basis for comparison with the build alternative environmental conditions assessed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Baseline (TSM) Alternative

  • The Baseline Alternative is a requirement of the Federal Transit Administration for projects considering federal funding as a source of capital dollars. This project's Baseline Alternative includes No-Build conditions and low-cost Transportation Systems Management (TSM) improvements that can reasonably be implemented and are cost-effective. The Baseline Alternative for MOM includes express bus service and parking improvements and bus lane construction on Route 9.
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Study Process

The MOM Alternatives Analysis follows the requirements and procedures prescribed by Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support the case for Federal funding of major capital investment. It begins with a survey of existing transportation-related conditions, identifies and confirms transportation needs, and defines the goals and objectives against which project alternatives will be evaluated. In this it will rely extensively on work produced in previous study efforts since 2004, including the Final Scoping Document Alternatives under consideration (described above) are subjected to a uniform evaluation process that treats all proposals (including the baseline proposal) on a level field of development and evaluation. In addition to transportation-related analysis, the study assesses the potential for environmental impacts in key disciplines at a qualitative level for use in evaluation of the alternatives.

Following the evaluation of the alternatives and the completion of the Alternatives Analysis, it is expected that the NJ TRANSIT Board will select a single build alternative (plus the No Build and TSM) to proceed to development of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). This study will conduct the detailed analysis and evaluation of environmental impacts and formal public participation process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
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Public Involvement

The project makes extensive use of the results of previous and ongoing outreach to the public and to elected officials. This work has informed the selection of goals and objectives, development of alternatives, development of evaluation criteria, and identification of environmental considerations Going forward, NJ TRANSIT will use individual meetings, events, newsletters, and other means to keep the project stakeholders informed about the project's status and to provide an opportunity to raise issues or ask questions prior to its completion. NJ TRANSIT may conduct one-on-one meetings with local elected officials and county planners representing the affected communities at a regional level, and may organize committees of stakeholders to facilitate communication and cooperation among them. Public meetings will be held prior to the completion of the Alternatives Analysis and the selection of the Preferred Alternative. Public hearings will take place as required in each of the three affected counties when the DEIS is completed.

Click here to send a message to NJ TRANSIT about the project.
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Contact

The contacts for FTA and NJ TRANSIT are listed below:

Mr. Donald C. Burns
Community Planner
Office of Planning and Program Development
Federal Transit Administration
One Bowling Green, Room 429
New York, New York 10004-1415

Mr. Jeremy Colangelo-Bryan
Project Manager
NJ TRANSIT
One Penn Plaza East
Newark, NJ 07105-2246
Email
momcomments@njtransit.com.

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