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October 21, 2004

Burlington City Mayor Darlene Scocca and NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington hosted the River LINEís first economic symposium today at Burlington City Hall.

The symposium, part of NJ TRANSITís broader River LINE Economic Opportunity Project, was organized to help communities served by the River LINE maximize the economic benefits associated with the light rail line.

"While there is a traditional role for NJ TRANSITórunning trains, buses and light railó there are times when we are obligated to step outside of that traditional role," Executive Director Warrington told the mayors. "In this case, it was important for us to take a proactive step to assist you with realizing the full economic potential of your communities."

Earlier this year, Mr. Warrington assigned NJ TRANSIT staff to reach out to River LINE communities and provide resources for development.

"We are pleased to be working with the River LINE communities as part of our 'Transit-Friendly Planning' program, which provides technical assistance to municipalities interested in fostering transit-oriented development around transit facilities," said Vivian E. Baker, NJ TRANSIT Principal Planner. "We look forward to continuing to support their efforts to grow responsibly and revitalize the region's economy."

The symposium included a review of economic findings and forecasts from the consulting firm A. Nelessen Associates, followed by reports from the communities of Pennsauken, Riverside and Burlington. Several River LINE communities reported that the light rail line had already attracted development and expansion of local businesses.

Mr. Warrington told the audience that in the next phase of the project, "developers will be brought to the table." The group plans to reconvene December 2 at Rutgers-Camden, with NJ TRANSIT working to connect communities with developers to attract investment over the long-term.

NJ TRANSIT is the nationís largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 49 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

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