GREENSTEIN/DeANGELO URGE MORE DETAILS ON NJ TRANSIT PARKING LOT PRIVATIZATION

Lawmakers Frustrated Over Fare Hike Decision Seek More Details on Privatization Plan that could Cost Commuters Even More Money

(HAMILTON TWP.) — Following a unanimous vote by the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors to raise fares by an average of 22 percent and cut some services routes and discounts, Assemblywoman Linda R. Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) today sought more information regarding the agencies potential proposals to privatize parking lot at transit locations.

In a letter to NJ Transit executive director James Weinstein, Greenstein and DeAngelo sought more information regarding the proposal as a means of allowing adequate public input on the proposal.

April 15, 2010

Mr. James Weinstein
Executive Director
New Jersey Transit Corporation
One Penn Plaza East
Newark, NJ 07105-2246

via fax: (973) 491-7134

Dear Director Weinstein:

Last night, the Board of Directors of New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) unanimously turned a deaf ear to the thousands of commuters and residents who use rail and bus services every day. By approving fare hikes averaging 22 percent across the board, we feel that the immense impact of these historic fare increases on the lives of so many families was not given due consideration. NJ Transit needs to be responsive to the residents of New Jersey and take into consideration the real world scenarios faced by riders and the ramifications of their actions. This fare hike decision does not represent the best interests of the people of the State of New Jersey.

Also of significant concern are reports of NJ Transit’s next plan to raise revenue – privatizing parking at transit stops. New Jersey has a poor track record of privatizing services, particularly when it comes to privatizing transportation functions.

We urge NJ Transit and state transportation officials to make detailed proposals available to the public immediately so there can be adequate public input on a plan that may take another bite out of their wallet. We believe that the State must move very cautiously on any plans to privatize vital functions or entities. All too often, ill-fated privatization plans spiral out-of-control even after residents oppose the plan from the outset.

We are concerned about the potential impact privatizing parking lots may have on working families. In this economic climate, hard-working families of New Jersey cannot afford additional expenses simply to get to work, to travel to see family members, to go to doctor’s appointments, or to meet the every day responsibilities of their life. If privatization leads to increased costs, we fear the proposal may place mass transit out of the realm of financial possibility for many riders.

In the last few weeks, and including last night, hundreds of New Jersey residents demonstrated their opposition to fare hikes but seemingly were not heard. The public needs sufficient time to fully absorb the impact of any future parking lot privatization proposal and deserves to have their concerns taken into consideration.

We urge NJ Transit and state transportation officials to make detailed proposals publicly available, so that there may be adequate opportunities for public discourse and legislative assessment of potential impacts on our constituents. Feel free to reach out to us on this or any other issue.

Sincerely,

Assemblywoman Linda R. Greenstein
Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo
14th Legislative District

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