U.S. Sens. Lautenberg, Menendez Propose $125M In Aid To Reverse NJ Transit Fare Hikes

nj transitSince the start of last year, 84 percent of public transit systems in America have either hiked fares, slashed service or are considering one of the two. Saying that mass transit has become more expensive and less accessible, New Jersey Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez today joined a half-dozen Democratic colleagues to propose $2 billion in emergency assistance — including $125 million for NJ Transit — to reverse mass transit service cuts and fare hikes across America. Under the “The Public Transportation Preservation Act,” transit agencies would be able to use the emergency funds to reduce fare increases and restore services cut after January 2009, or prevent future service cuts or fare hikes through September 2011. Agencies that have not hiked fares or slashed services would be able to use the money for infrastructure improvements.  

NJ Transit on May 1 instituted fare hikes of 25 percent for train and interstate bus riders and 10 percent for light rail and local bus riders, and this week took 31 trains out of service. Discounts for round trips outside of peak riding hours also were eliminated, leading to increases of up to 64 percent for some rail commuters.

NJ Transit spokesman Dan Stessel said it was difficult to speculate on what the bill would mean for the agency’s nearly 900,000 riders, noting it would depend on the final language in the proposed measure.

“We applaud Senators Lautenberg and Menendez for their efforts to bring critically needed transportation funding,” he said. “We will provide whatever assistance necessary to the senators on this legislation.”

Lautenberg and Menendez joined Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee chair Chris Dodd (D-CT) and co-sponsors Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in introducing the bill.

“This measure would provide critical relief to New Jersey’s commuters and transit riders across the country when they need it most,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “Investing in transit will help stem fare hikes and improve service so that working class families can get to work on time and without breaking the bank.”

“This is a moment in which we should be investing in our public transportation, not undermining it,” Menendez added.

Across the Hudson River, the emergency assistance could restore transit service and hold off future fare hikes on commuters throughout the New York City subway system, Long Island Railroad and Metro North Railroad. Star Ledger

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  1. Why not $200B?? It’s not fair, how much does paper cost anyway?? You figure to print $200B in dollars can’t be more than $200k! That’s a great ROI!

  2. It’s time to vote these people out. The national debt has now hit 17 trillion and they want to keep spending! When is this going to stop?
    Each person in America is now indebted to the government for $42,000. Thats every man, woman and child. Call on these congressmen and women to stop this now! Its time for a real old fashioned tea party!

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