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Gottheimer fights to push Lackawanna Cut-off railway forward

Calls on NJ Transit, Amtrak to Immediately Move Forward With Restoration Project

ANDOVER, NJ (Sussex County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday called on NJ Transit and Amtrak to put aside bureaucratic stalling and immediately move forward with the Lackawanna Cut-off restoration project — to finally bring quality rail service to Sussex and Warren Counties, helping commuters, stimulating tourism, and boosting the local economy in Northwestern New Jersey.

Gottheimer visited the future site of the park-and-ride station in Andover, which will serve the Lackawanna Cut-off railway from Scranton, PA, to Hoboken and New York City.

Steps Gottheimer is fighting for to move the Lackawanna Cut-off Restoration Project forward:

  • NJ Transit must fix a necessary railway culvert that Andover Township has offered to purchase the land to access. Once NJ Transit fixes the culvert, other work to restore the Lackawanna Cut-off can move forward. This work is fully paid-for in NJ Transit’s current capital plan with existing and expected resources.
  • NJ Transit must move forward without delay and award a bid for the historic Roseville Tunnel restoration — a critical portion of Phase One of the Lackawanna Cut-off Restoration project to expand railways in North Jersey. This work is fully paid-for in NJ Transit’s current capital plan with existing and expected resources, and can draw on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
  • NJ Transit and Amtrak must complete Phase One of the project connecting Port Morris Junction to Andover, allowing trains to run through to New York Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal — key hubs for North Jersey commuters. This work is fully paid-for in NJ Transit’s current capital plan with existing and expected resources.
  • Allocated resources and investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill can be used. Amtrak’s Vision for Improving Transportation Across America, which was released last year, lists train service to Scranton from New York City as a key priority for the historic funding Amtrak received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

Every day, 28,000 people commute between Northeast Pennsylvania, Northern New Jersey, and New York. Sussex County has the longest average commute time of all New Jersey counties at 38 minutes, and Vernon Township specifically has been ranked as having the worst commutes in New Jersey. Since 2011, New Jersey commute times have increased by 8.8 percent, Gottheimer said.

The Lackawanna Cut-off railway will improve convenience and travel times for hundreds of thousands of travelers across New Jersey — including in Andover and across Sussex County via NJ Transit regional rail — and will bring significant benefits to our families and our communities — reducing congestion on our roads, boosting tourism, and helping grow our local economies, Gottheimer said.

According to Amtrak’s Corridor Vision plan — released in May 2021 — expanding service beyond the Lackawanna Cut-off to Scranton, Pennsylvania, will generate about $87 million in annual economic activity, plus $2.9 billion from one-time economic impact from construction along the corridor.

“One of the major reasons I fought for rail and transit resources in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I helped draft, and that was signed into law just a few months ago, was that it would help invest in the Lakawanna Cut-off railway. Now, it’s up to NJ Transit to stop playing bureaucratic games, unleash the resources we’ve allocated, and get this project moving,” Gottheimer said. “There are zero options for folks in Sussex County to make their life easier and get on a train to get to work, or to see a family member. I’ve heard from so many residents, businesses, and local elected officials about this issue, and of the urgent need for more transportation options to New York City from across Sussex. The Lackawanna Cut-off railway is a key part of the solution.”

Earlier this month, Gottheimer spoke with NJ Transit stressing the importance of getting Phase One of the project moving forward, calling on the agency to immediately take action for our families and small businesses.

Gottheimer was joined today in Andover by Andover Mayor Thomas Walsh, Andover Committeeman Eric Carr, Andover Committeewoman Janis McGovern, and North Jersey Rail Commuter Association President Chuck Walsh.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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