(TRENTON) — The Democratic members of the Assembly transportation committee Friday issued a multimedia package in which they discuss the impact of Gov. Chris Christie’s NJ Transit cuts and a likely fare hike.
The multimedia package consists of a video on the committee’s hearing, audio of the same and a transcript of statements from Democratic legislators on the panel.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of statements from the legislators is appended below:
Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee chair:
“The folks who use New Jersey Transit, by and large, are the people with incomes under $50,000 a year. A 20, 30 or even 40 percent fare increase, which the executive director is talking about, is a huge tax on working families. And it’s a tax on working families at a time when incomes are decreasing, jobs are scarcer; people are frightened for their economic future. It’s the wrong signal to be sending to the people of the State of New Jersey.”
Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam (D-Cumberland):
“To cut any subsidy to it puts the pain on the ridership. People are using that [NJ Transit] to get to work for the jobs that they have. And the people that are employed — that are fortunate to be employed — need that public transportation. So, to raise a fare on them would be unfair.”
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson):
“Is this across the board four percent that they want to cut? Or is it in just those areas that ridership is down? Because in the area where we live, I know ridership is up and we’re always touting mass transit, and people are using it more. So, I want to make sure that this is the way we look at it. And we want to make sure that they look everywhere else to cut before they raise fares or cut service.”
Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson):
“By raising the fare, it would be a major blow to my constituents. By cutting down the service, also, that would be a problem. And there may be a safety matter that may come into effect.”
Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin (D-Essex):
“We have to look at this very carefully: all the implications of the increase as far as fares are concerned and see if there are other revenue sources out there: either advertising or what can be done in terms of some consolidations.”
“New Jersey Transit provides a relief mechanism for our already overburdened highway system. When you increase the fares, what you do is you force people to get off the trains and take their cars and add to the congestion problem we already have.”
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