Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sounding the alarm on region’s crumbling infrastructure

Hudson river tunnel  construction in 1905
Hudson River tunnel construction in 1905 

Brenda Flanagan reports for NJTV NEWS:

“This is a national disgrace,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden exhorted the movers and shakers at the 27th annual Assembly of the Regional Plan Association to sound the alarm about crumbling infrastructure, especially the century old train tunnel under the Hudson River. Biden noted, this crowd needs to push the Gateway Project and replace that tunnel.

“Congress is now totally led by one party. They don’t like to spend money. I get it. But folks, they have to hear from you or nothing’s going to change,” he said.

Biden keynoted a day of panels that actually sounded multiple alarms: from trains to buses, rails to terminals, our mass transit’s old and broken and so are the agencies charged with operating and maintaining these systems. That’s why trains recently derailed twice at New York’s Penn Station and got stuck in the Hudson tunnel on Good Friday, said RPA Chair Scott Rechler.

“After years of paying more and more for less and less, are we surprised that the public has lost faith in government’s ability to get things done?” he asked.

Ralph Cramden busdriver
Ralph Kramden era bus
Rechler — who just stepped down from the Port Authority — criticized the bi-state agency as disorganized and dysfunctional. He claimed it’s so backward, the proposed new bus terminal’s designed for “Ralph Kramden era buses.”

He also said New Jersey Transit would do a better job running PATH trains and questioned whether the Port Authority even needs its own police force.

“Virtually no elected official in either state is accountable for the agency’s success or failure,” he said. “The current Port Authority structure will continue to fail to fully meet the demands of either state or the region, unless there is change.”

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