Marlboro mayor objects to train line in township


MARLBORO – Municipal officials have expressed their displeasure about the possibility of a passenger rail line running through Marlboro.

New Jersey Transit is presently conducting a study of three possible passenger rail lines in central New Jersey. Running north from Ocean County the rail lines are known as the Lakehurst to Matawan line; the Lakehurst to Red Bank line; and the Lakehurst to Monmouth Junction (South Brunswick) line.

The Lakehurst to Matawan line is the passenger rail service that would come out of Ocean County, north through Freehold Borough and run through Marlboro approximately parallel to Route 79.

In commenting on the possibility of a passenger rail line running through town, Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, “Having this route run through Marlboro is not in the best interest of our residents and will have a negative and adverse impact on our environment and the quality of life of the good people of our community.”

After hearing Gov. Jon Corzine recently tell residents of Middlesex County that the Lakehurst toMonmouth Junction route would not run through Middlesex County, Hornik and Township Council President Jeff Cantor said they became concerned that the rail line throughMarlboro might be the next option.

NJ Transit officials and the governor’s spokeswoman later said the governor was expressing his opinion about not wanting the rail line inMiddlesex County and confirmed that the Lakehurst to Monmouth Junction line is still being studied.

Hornik said previous studies have all recommended the Lakehurst to Monmouth Junction route as the one that would increase ridership the most and prove to be the most cost-effective option.

Representatives from NJ Transit met with Hornik and provided him with an update of the federal study that is being conducted of the three potential routes.

Plans for the possible Lakehurst to Matawan line showed the tracks running directly through residential areas ofMarlboro, the mayor said. The plans show two train stations in the township.

One proposed train station is listed “in the heart of Marlboro.” Hornik said of a station off Stevenson Drive, near the entrance to theMarlboroManse community. The other proposed station would be on Greenwood Road near Tennent Road in theMorganville section of the community.

The plans could include parking garages to accommodate the people who would want to park at the train station, he said.

With the noise, increase in congestion and safety concerns, Cantor said he does not believe this is what Marlboro wants.

Hornik said the township attorney is drafting a resolution for the council to consider in opposition to the rail line.

Letters asking for support in opposing a rail line through Marlboro have been sent to Congressman Frank Pallone (DN. J.), Congressman Rush Holt (D-N.J.), state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R- Monmouth and Mercer), state Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth and Mercer) and state Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth and Mercer).

A small advisory committee will be developed to keep an eye out for mention of the passenger rail study in the state Assembly and Senate. Hornik said he wants as many eyes and ears following this issue to ensure that Marlboro does not receive information too late.

“It is my opinion that if you wait until the end, then all of a sudden you have a train coming through. This is the time we have to act,” Hornik said.