New Jersey Herald: Editorial: Lackawana Cutoff a bipartisan effort
By: NJ Herald Editorial Board
We’ll have to see if the group letter encouraging the New Jersey Transit and the state Department of Environmental Protection to get the Lackawanna Cutoff train project on track will have the desired result.
But the show of bipartisan support, and hopefully its accompanying bipartisan clout, is encouraging.
The letter mailed last week was spearheaded by Democratic U.S. 5th District Rep. Josh Gottheimer and was also signed by state 24th District Republicans Sen. Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus as well as Andover Township Mayor Tom Walsh, Frankford Mayor James Ayres, Franklin Mayor Nick Giordano, Hardyston Mayor Stanley Kula, Montague Mayor Gene Crawford, Sandyston Mayor Fred McDonald, Walpack Mayor Victor Maglio and Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway, non-partisan Newton Mayor Sandra Diglio, and the county’s only two Democratic mayors, Anthony Frato of Branchville and Katherine Little of Sussex Borough.
In the letter the group requested an update on the long-awaited project and an accounting for its delays.
“Last month, NJ Transit failed to clarify the status of the project when asked to address its outstanding issues. This letter demands an explanation for these delays as well as swift action on the project, particularly in light of the project’s already-allocated federal investment.
“With this letter, federal, state, and local partners are in a united front to cut through the red tape and move forward with this critical transportation project for the region.”
The letter made particular note of a current — though likely not the last — obstacle preventing construction of the station that is part of the project to reinstate passenger train service to Sussex County.
“Now, it has come to our attention that there is a delay related to the soundness of the culvert located on Hudson Farms. However, this project already has a federal funding commitment, and we must keep it on schedule in order to keep that investment.”
The letter said that “it is imperative that New Jersey Transit and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection work together towards (the project’s) completion for the good of Sussex County.”
Efforts to boost the county’s economic future should not be stalled by partisanship.
As Walsh put it, “I love that everybody is coming together on this.”