Gov’s, NJ Transit’s proposals will clog roads

Iwas one of many concerned citizens who attended the public hearing about Gov. Chris Christie’s and NJ Transit’s proposed service cuts and fare increases of 25 percent. Many of those present were understandably angry. New Jersey is the most densely populated and congested state in the United States. These proposals will increase congestion and pollution and cause inconvenience and delays, as commuters will be forced to drive, further clogging this state’s all ready jammed roads.

According to the NJ Transit website, ridership is down 4 percent, and this is being used as a reason for cutting service. A main reason for the 4 percent drop is the unemployment rate, which is at or above 8 percent; therefore, less workers are commuting to work. Common sense dictates that service be maintained so that people can find jobs and get to them as the job market improves.

Candidate and now Gov. Christie has stated repeatedly that he will not consider an increase in the state tax on gasoline sales. A few cents (3-6 cents), which would be directed toward masstransit subsidies, is certainly a more sensible way to address the budget concerns facing NJ Transit. Punishing New Jersey’s environmentally and economically responsible citizens who use mass transit is a stupid and reckless proposal.

The question must be asked: Why is Mr. Christie so adamantly opposed to a reasonable state gasoline-tax increase in a state where there has not been such an increase for 20 years? During those same 20 years NJ Transit has raised fares at least five times. It is common knowledge that Mr. Christie is a good friend of oilmen G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their adviser, Karl Rove. But is he also beholden to oil companies, gas dealership associations, highwayconstruction firms and others who will undoubtedly profit from forcing thousands of commuters and their vehicles onto existing overcrowded highways?

The NJ Transit board of directors must reconsider this unwise and harmful proposal. Mr. Christie must serve the people of New Jersey, not those who will benefit from putting more cars on the roads.

Kevin Hussey

Vice Chairman Brotherhood of Maintenance

of Way Employees Division International Brotherhood of