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The Commissioner's Report
Governor unveils largest public investment
ever made in state's rail freight infrastructure
Sustaining New Jerseys economic strength is a priority for the McGreevey Administration. To ensure the vitality of the states ports, the Governor has unveiled an $80 million investment in rail freight infrastructure at Port Newark/Elizabeth.
Over the next 20 years, New Jersey anticipates a 90 percent growth in truck/rail freight movement. This historic investment will prepare the port for record demand. It will immediately create 36,000 jobs and spur close to $2 billion in economic activity.
The infrastructure improvements are designed to increase the rail share of freight and slow the growth of truck traffic on highways. The improvements will reduce the number of idling trains and enable trains to pass each other safely and efficiently.
Currently, 13 percent of all freight leaves Port Newark/Elizabeth by rail. Under the New Jersey Rail Freight Improvement Plan, 25 percent of all freight will leave by rail.
It makes sense for the economy: The plan will translate into job creation and boost the regional economy.
It makes sense for the environment: Rail consumes one-third the energy and emits one-third the pollution as trucks.
And it makes sense for New Jersey residents: The plan will mean less congestion on our highways and a stronger economy statewide.
The program is a private-public partnership between the Class I railroads, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the State. Projects such as double tracking and signal improvements will create a safer, more efficient rail network.
The Rail Freight Improvement Plan projects include $50 million in capital improvements along the Chemical Coast Line and the Lehigh Valley Line. In addition, it will spend $30 million to clear up one of New Jerseys biggest rail bottlenecks at Croxton Yard on New County Road in Secaucus.
This Administration is committed to ensuring the vitality of New Jerseys freight industry and reducing congestion on our crowded highways. If Port Elizabeth is to accommodate $70 billion in extra freight every year, it must be able to utilize the full potential of the rail freight network.
The $80 million investment in the Rail Freight Improvement Plan is only the beginning. Phases II and III of this important initiative will follow in coming years.