During his visit to Andover on Monday, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) called on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak to put aside bureaucratic stalling and immediately move forward with the Lackawanna Cut-off railway restoration project.
“There are zero options for folks in Sussex County to make their life easier and get on a train to get to work, or to see a family member,” he said. “I’ve heard from so many residents, businesses, and local elected officials about this issue, and of the urgent need for more transportation options to New York City from across Sussex. The Lackawanna Cut-off railway is a key part of the solution.”
Gottheimer spoke at the future site of the park-and-ride station in Andover, which will serve the Lackawanna Cut-off railway from Scranton, Pa., to Hoboken, N.J., and New York City. He was joined by Andover Mayor Thomas Walsh, Andover Committeeman Eric Carr, Andover Committeewoman Janis McGovern, and North Jersey Rail Commuter Association President Chuck Walsh.
He said the Lackawanna Cut-off will improve travel times for hundreds of thousands of travelers across New Jersey, reducing congestion on roads, boosting tourism, and growing local economies.
Every day, 28,000 people commute between Northeast Pennsylvania, Northern New Jersey, and New York, Gottheimer said. Sussex County has the longest average commute time, at 38 minutes, of all New Jersey counties, he said, and Vernon Township has been ranked as having the worst commute in New Jersey. Since 2011, New Jersey commute times have increased by 8.8 percent.
According to Amtrak’s Corridor Vision plan released in May, expanding service beyond the Lackawanna Cut-off to Scranton, Pa., will generate about $87 million in annual economic activity, plus $2.9 billion from one-time economic impact from construction along the corridor.
“One of the major reasons I fought for rail and transit resources in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I helped draft, and that was signed into law just a few months ago, was that it would help invest in the Lackawanna Cut-off railway,” Gottheimer said. “Now, it’s up to New Jersey Transit to stop playing bureaucratic games, unleash the resources we’ve allocated, and get this project moving.”