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Project Will Increase Capacity on NJ TRANSIT Rail System

NEWARK, NJ, February 21, 2003 – NJ TRANSIT’s new Union Station on the Raritan Valley Line is one step closer to opening thanks to action taken today by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors.

The Board authorized a long-term lease and sublease agreement with Union Township that “paves” the way for the use of a new 467-space parking lot at the facility. The station – scheduled to open Sunday, April 27 – would become the Raritan Valley Line’s closest station to Newark Penn Station, the most frequently used destination of Raritan Valley Line riders.

“We are committed to expanding New Jersey’s passenger rail system to accommodate growing demand and attract new users,” said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and Acting Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. “This station and it’s new parking facilities provide added incentive for commuters to make use of the system.”

“The Union Station project is part of our ‘Back to Basics’ strategy, focusing on core system investments that deliver customer-oriented benefits,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “By adding 467 parking spaces for Raritan Valley Line customers, we greatly improve access to the rail system.”

The lease and sublease agreements span 60 years at a cost of $1 per year plus a proportionate share of parking revenues. The parking lot at Union Station is located on Morris Avenue in the Townley section of Union adjacent to Kean University.

When completed, the new $27 million Union Station will be the closest station to Newark Penn Station on the Raritan Valley Line. NJ TRANSIT estimates 800 weekday riders will use the new facility within its first two years of operation – including peak commuters traveling to Newark and New York, and reverse-peak commuters traveling to Kean University, Schering Plough and other local destinations. In addition to local commuters, the new station can be easily accessed from Route 22, Interstate 78 and the Garden State Parkway.

The station project – funded by the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund and the Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Bond Act of 1999 – consists of a 3,000-square-foot, fully accessible station building, a center island high-level platform, a pedestrian tunnel, an elevator to access the platform and the commuter parking lots. To support the station project, a series of local improvements were also implemented to enhance vehicular and pedestrian flow around the station, including the widening of Green Lane and the installation of a traffic light at the entrance to the facility.

In addition to the new station and parking lot, Union Township officials are working on the creation of mixed-use development around the station. Among the options being considered by the community are a hotel, a conference center, a restaurant, professional offices and condominiums.

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.