McKeon: Amtrak Proposal for NY Penn Repairs Shows Utter Disregard for Commuters

Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair John F. McKeon on Tuesday called on Amtrak to reconsider a proposed New York Penn Station repair schedule that would require significant disruptions to New Jersey Transit rail service for up to 44 days this summer.

Following a Friday hearing during which legislators questioned Amtrak President Wick Moorman and NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro regarding recent delays and derailments, Amtrak announced a preliminary plan to curtail rail service from July 7 to July 25 and from August 4 to August 28.

“The utter disregard for commuters from Amtrak just continues, and it’s unacceptable,” said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). “Amtrak ought to listen to the many frustrated rail passengers in New Jersey and arrange for repairs to have the least possible effect on commuters.”

Rather than disrupting service at times when people are likely to rely on NJ Transit trains to get to and from work, Amtrak should work around upcoming holidays, which would minimize the negative impact of the repairs, McKeon said.

“Instead of forcing service interruptions during weekday rush hours, Amtrak should make it a priority to get most of this work done during the Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends,” said McKeon. “Considering that the vast majority of people going into and out of New York Penn Station are using commuter rail lines, commuters deserve far more respect than they’ve been given. New Jersey residents pay for this service, and they rightfully expect to be treated like the customers they are.”