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CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW HUDSON-BERGEN LIGHT RAIL 8TH STREET STATION IN BAYONNE

Project will extend service one mile south

October 15, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Penny Bassett Hackett or Dan Stessel (973) 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Albio Sires joined NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles and Bayonne Mayor Terrence Malloy today to break ground on a project to extend Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service farther into Bayonne to a new station at 8th Street.

"With New Jerseyans forced to deal with growing congestion and high gas prices, we need options that get cars off the road and help people spend less time in traffic," said U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. "By securing more than a billion dollars in federal funding for this light rail line along our Hudson Waterfront, we are making rail available to more commuters in our stateand improving their quality of life."

"The light rail system is a model of how to link communities with transportation options to encourage economic development, ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and reduce our dependence on oil," said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. "The 8th Street extension in Bayonne will further connect people and opportunities, putting employment, education, and recreation within easy and affordable reach."

In April, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a $58.4 million contract to George Harms Construction, Inc. of Howell, NJ, for work to extend the light rail line one mile from its current southern terminus at 22nd Street. The project includes the design and construction of foundations, viaduct structure, track work, intersection improvements, a new station building, landscaping, lighting and customer amenities.

"Since opening eight years ago, the light rail line has benefited Hudson County and the region with its ability to make positive changes in our communities and improvements for our neighborhoods," said U.S. Representative Albio Sires. "I am pleased with this latest expansion of a project that will continue to be a boon to economic development and personal mobility."

"I have long supported the plan to extend light rail service farther into Bayonne to reach even more residents," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria. "I am excited that NJ TRANSIT is getting shovels in the ground to make the new 8th Street Station a reality for the City, Hudson County and the region."

"Hudson-Bergen Light Rail continues to serve as a model for transit agencies across the nation," said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri. "The line continues to drive economic growth, transit-friendly development andmost importantconnect residents with jobs, education and recreational activities."

NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora Castillo also attended the event and participated in the ground breaking ceremony.

From the elevated 22nd Street Station, the light rail tracks will be extended south, hugging the existing Conrail right-of-way along Avenue E. A viaduct will carry light rail vehicles over local streets to an elevated platform at the new 8th Street Station, which will feature an elevator and stairs between street and platform levels.

As a result of community meetings, the station will be located at Avenue C and 8th Street, with architecture reminiscent of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) station that once stood near the site.

"With Hudson-Bergen Light Rail ridership on a typical weekday up more than 13 percent this year over last, customers are clearly taking advantage of this convenient and affordable transportation option," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "We are pleased to expand the system and connect new riders to NJ TRANSIT rail services, trans-Hudson ferries, PATH trains and park-and-ride facilities."

"A new station at 8th Street will expand a vital north-south transportation option for Hudson County and the region," said Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise. "Whether traveling between Bayonne and North Bergen, or taking advantage of connections to trans-Hudson services, light rail has become the preferred choice for many residents."

"The start of construction for the 8th Street light rail extension is a great day for Bayonne. When the new light rail segment is completed, our downtown residents will be able to have easier commutes to work, school, and shopping," said Bayonne Mayor Terrence Malloy. "The new 8th Street extension will also boost business by bringing customers to the 8th Street area and the nearby historic Bergen Point neighborhood. Our community is looking forward to having an attractive, new light rail facility that will remind longtime residents of the old 8th Street Station."

The project is expected to be completed in 2010. Once open, 8th Street will be the 24th Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station.

About Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail provides more than 40,000 weekday trips between 23 stations in Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and North Bergen. The system provides a vital link between waterfront destinations, NJ TRANSIT rail and bus routes, PATH trains and trans-Hudson ferry services.

The one-way adult fare on Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is $1.90. Discounted monthly passes are available for $58. Children, senior citizens and passengers with disabilities save 50 percent or more at all times. In addition, NJ TRANSIT customers holding a monthly or weekly rail pass, or a bus pass for two or more zones, can ride the system at no additional charge simply by displaying their pass.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.