Assemblymen Mazzeo and Armato urge NJ Transit for AC Rail timeline

In response to the continued closure of the Atlantic City Rail Line by New Jersey Transit, Assemblymen Vincent Mazzeo and John Armato are asking the agency to announce when the rail line will reopen.

NJ Transit discontinued the Atlantic City Rail Line to install positive train control in 2018. It plans to reopen the line in early 2019 pending the review and approval of a submission to the Federal Railroad Administration to extend the deadline for training of PTC to Dec. 31, 2020.

New Jersey Transit finished installing PTC on Dec. 17, 2018, in advance of a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline. PTC is a federally mandated emergency braking system that uses a series of sensors to automatically stop trains in the event of operator error. All rail agencies are installing PTC as a safety precaution.

“Since September, commuters who depend on the Atlantic City Rail Line to get to work, school or home have needed to seek out other often more inconvenient options to get where they need to go,” Mazzeo, D-2nd District, said in a press release. “We know that NJ TRANSIT had to install federally mandated positive train control mechanisms, which we hope will make our transportation system safer and more effective. However, it is still our belief that a full shutdown of the line wasn’t at all necessary, and could have been avoided with better planning from NJ TRANSIT. And with the PTC installation now complete as of December, it was their promise that the Atlantic City line would be open by now.”

Mazzeo and Armato sent a letter to Transit on Jan. 2 requesting an official reopening date be announced.

“A week later, we still haven’t received a formal response,” Armato, D-2nd District, said in a news release. “Now, some officials and press outlets are conveying the reopening may be as late as March. That’s unacceptable for our commuters, who’ve endured crowded daily bus rides and lengthy commutes for months on end. We call on NJ Transit to not only announce a formal reopening date, but hold a true public information meeting in Atlantic County to make sure new operating schedule is properly distributed to riders. Our commuters deserve nothing less than to be informed and assured when their daily lives will return to normal.”

David Hutter
David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at: dhutter@njbiz.com.

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