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UNION STATION MAKES ITS DEBUT ON THE RARITAN VALLEY LINE

Union, NJ, April 28, 2003 - Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere was joined by NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington and a host of local officials and dignitaries to celebrate the opening of the Raritan Valley Line's newest addition - Union Station.

Nestled between Kean University and the Schering Plough Corporation, the $24.8 million Union Station affirms Gov. James McGreevey's commitment to Smart Growth and mass transit access to communities serving a large commuter population. Already, the township has begun to reap the benefits of the station with a handful of developments slated for the surrounding area.

“Under Governor McGreevey’s leadership, NJ TRANSIT has been working to make mass transit a viable option – not a last resort,” Lettiere said. “Union Station has the potential for making the daily commute more convenient for hundreds of people who now converge on local streets and highways during rush hour. The opening of Union will now provide access to fast and convenient mass transit.”

“Union Station adds much needed capacity to the state’s rail system by providing a new transportation facility on the Raritan Valley Line, which serves 8,100 daily passengers from Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties,” Warrington said. “Ridership at Union Station is projected to attract 800 daily riders, half are expected to be new to NJ TRANSIT’s system. This station will not only serve as a point of origin, but a destination for local universities and corporations who call the Township of Union home.”

"I am thrilled to join Commissioner Lettiere and my fellow committeemen in opening the gates of Union Station," said Mayor Brenda Restivo. "This is a project that has taken seven years, several administrations, and the effort of this great community of Union. We have partnered with NJ TRANSIT, the State Department of Transportation, Union County, Schering Plough and Kean University to make this day a reality. The economic future of the township of Union is brightened by adding this stop on the Raritan Valley Line."

Union Station is located on the eastern most section on NJ TRANSIT's Raritan Valley Line. The station includes a 545-foot-long high-level center platform, and to better serve customers with disabilities, construction also included an elevator for easier access to the platform. In addition there is a 3,000-square foot station facility with a waiting room, rest rooms, and vendors and a 464-space parking lot. Connecting bus service is also available for the No. 26 and No. 52.

The station also includes artwork by artists Greg LeFevre and George Greenamyer. LeFevre has created a strip map for each side of the pedestrian underpass at Union Station. The map reproduces the 40th parallel of the earth's northern hemisphere, which runs near a diverse selection of cities, including Lisbon, Rome, Peking and Union. The exact opposite wall, on the same latitude, will be a mapping of Lanchou, China.

Greenamyer will create a kinetic sculpture celebrating railroading. The sculpture will pose as a gateway to Union Station and it will stand approximately 16-feet-tall over the roadway with a train and travelers running along the track. The train and travelers are three-dimensional. The sculpture will be installed next spring.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

For further information, riders in North Jersey can call NJ TRANSIT between 6 a.m. and midnight at 1-800-772-2222 or at 973-762-5100 from out of state. For persons with hearing impairments, the number is 1-800-772-2287. Information is also available on the Internet at www.njtransit.com.