Passaic-Bergen Rail Plan Advances

NEWARK, N.J. – The plan to provide a new passenger rail service link between downtown Hackensack and the Main Line Station in Hawthorne moved ahead today with the N.J. Transit Board of Directors approving funds for the project’s final design.

The project will introduce FRA-compliant Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) technology into the N.J. Transit fleet of rail equipment and will provide new passenger service along more than eight miles of existing freight track.

“I am pleased to see steady progress in this project, which will provide new and efficient travel options to the residents who live along this corridor,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell. “I expect the service to promote economic growth.”

The amendment approved today authorizes the expenditure of $5.7 million to fund final design, creation of an operating plan and preparation of bid documents. The Passaic County Board of Freeholders also has pledged their financial support of the project.
Customers will be served by up to nine stations along the alignment and will be able to make convenient transfers between Main Line and Passaic-Bergen trains in Hawthorne, as well as N.J. Transit buses that serve Hawthorne Station.

“The project leverages existing infrastructure to provide a new way for people to get to work in a very congested area of the state,” said Transportation Commissioner and N.J. Transit Board Chairman Kris Kolluri.

“We envision this project as the first increment in fulfilling a need for east-west passenger rail service along the existing New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad right-of-way,” said N.J. Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles. “Hackensack-to- Hawthorne is where this cross-county service will start, thanks to Congressman Bill Pascrell’s unwavering support and leadership.”

The Passaic-Bergen line will provide a walk-on connection to the Main Line and offers the possibility for future connections to the Bergen County and Pascack Valley commuter rail lines.

Project elements include a park & ride facility and up to nine stations, with construction expected to start in 2008 and be completed in 2010. The $156 million project will be funded through federal and state sources. The FRA has approved a grant for the vehicles.

— Special to News Wire