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"MOM" RAIL LINE PLANS MOVE FORWARD
Common ground found to move project forward
May 27, 2009
NEWARK, NJ — For the first time in years, members of a working group from Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties have reached common ground for a proposed route for a new rail line that would provide residents with additional rail service to Newark and Manhattan.
Citing a shared desire to select a project alternative in order to move forward and to work together for the benefit of residents in the growing region, officials from the three counties have urged NJ TRANSIT to focus on an incremental approach toward a project that would create a new rail line from Manchester/Lakehurst in Ocean County to Red Bank in Monmouth County, with a spur from Freehold Township to Farmingdale Borough. The line would connect to the existing North Jersey Coast Line in Red Bank.
When the agreement was reached last week, the community members of the MOM working group urged NJ TRANSIT to explore enhanced bus service along Routes 9 and 18 as the MOM project moves forward. They also recommended that NJ TRANSIT address vehicular traffic issues in Red Bank, where additional rail service could further impact traffic.
The progress toward a solution followed recent discussions that while all three of the MOM Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) alternatives currently under review have merit, they may not effectively compete on a national level for federal New Starts dollars when compared to other projects around the country.
Officials expect that much of the environmental analysis that has already been performed can be used in a modified proposal.
The working group, consisting of officials from Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties as well as the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and NJ TRANSIT, was established several years ago to help facilitate discussions to move the project along.
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.