Hearing Emphasizes Need for Increased Transparency
Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee Chair John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement Monday regarding the operation of ferry services and the subsidization of those services, including the subsidy provided for ferry service connecting the Atlantic Highlands with Jersey City and Hoboken:
“Our state has a responsibility to make smart, evidence-based choices about where to commit capital so that ferry service is cost efficient, reliable and sustainable well into the future.
“Unfortunately, it appears that ferry service between Atlantic Highlands and Hudson County does not meet these basic criteria.
“The lack of clear answers on how the $7,000-a-day subsidy was calculated is cause for concern, as is the fact that low ridership – averaging fewer than 100 riders per day – did not warrant cancellation of Seastreak’s contract. Taxpayers deserve to know why over the last three-and-a-half years $1.8 million of their money has funded a redundant ferry service that even Seastreak representatives admit likely could not exist were it not for the subsidy. Fundamentally, this seems to be nothing more than an oversubsidization of an underutilized route, which should draw the attention of every resident of New Jersey.
“Considering the pattern of a lack of transparency and accountability at the Port Authority, New Jersey would be remiss not to further examine this matter on behalf of its taxpayers.”