Report from the Chair

This has been a busy month for the Coalition; plans for congestion pricing in New York City’s “Central Business District” raised questions about equitable funding, limiting air pollution and clogged streets, and the potential for simply transferring the traffic and parking demand to new areas (the basis for Bergen County’s suit); Dave Alan discusses the concerns in his article. NJ Transit’s SCDRTAC hit its 40th anniversary in January; the Coalition is approaching our own 45th anniversary in April.
The big news at the February board meeting was a victory lap for environmentalists: the NJ TransitGrid is dead! More analysis led management to negotiate with federal funders to move the grant to other resiliency projects; with better flood control and grid resilience by Public Service, it was clear that the proposed power plant in Kearny is not needed. (Frankly, the problem during Superstorm Sandy was distribution, not generation, making one wonder why it took so long for the agency to abandon the plan—but we all, especially local
residents, can breathe a lot easier now.) Less welcome was the announcement of a proposed 15% fare hike, with 3% annual increases to follow; many residents spoke against it, feeling that the proposal put
all the onus on riders, without sufficient contribution by the state. The requisite hearings start on Monday, March 4, just after the Railgram goes to bed, and the Coalition’s February meeting was devoted in large part
to a discussion of the proposed increase and the state’s budget (the latter still hypothetical at that point; the governor’s budget address was the following day, Tuesday, Feb. 27). More on that in our next issue.
We have been planning our meeting speakers further in advance, and have our schedule set through June. Advance planning sometimes means changes, so we stay flexible, but believe that we are set through
June. See our Coming Attractions box for details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *