LETTERS: Waste of time, waste of cash

To the editor:
So another $1.5 million will be added to the $6 million already wasted on a study of potential train routes for Monmouth and Ocean County commuters. The money in the federal transportation act is to analyze two routes from Lakehurst to Red Bank and Matawan — perhaps because a preliminary study has already found the original route through Middlesex County to be impractical.
   That was the conclusion of previous studies. A diesel rail line to the Northeast Corridor tracks in South Brunswick would be the longest in miles and travel time of the three routes, and the most expensive by far ($860 million).
   Even the cheapest route would cost $600 million to build, and require $49 million a year in taxpayer subsidies to operate, for only 7,900 passengers (NJ Transit’s optimistic estimate). That would mean each of the 3,950 round-trip riders would require more than 12,000 of our tax dollars each year.
   I’m sure that the latest feasibility study will again show that none of these three railroad lines would be worth it. The final report will reiterate that the most viable alternative is commuter buses. The Monmouth and Ocean politicians just don’t want to get it.
   Let’s hope that these are the last millions of dollars wasted on such studies. The money can be better spent on dedicated bus lanes on the Parkway and Route 9. It’s time to derail this boondoggle.
Richard Wieland