Figure 8Topographical Map of eastern Hudson County with HBLR overlay 28-29
Figure 9Plot of Morning Peak Timing of Bayonne Flyer Service 69
Figure 10Plot of Evening Peak Dispatch Pattern Bayonne Flyer Service 70
Figure 11Parking Locations and Trip Times 71
Figure 12Bergen Bullet Express Train Operation Through "Three Roads" 73
Figure 13HBLR Linear Route Profile / Track Charts 74-75
Figure 14Categorization of Rail Sub-Modes -The Family Tree of American Passenger Rail 77
THE LIGHT RAIL PROJECT and the Light Rail Panel began with New Jersey Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian, who named the panel and appointed me as Chair. It was my pleasure to serve as initial Chair of the panel. My mission was to find the best route to pursue- with no money yet appropriated for the Light Rail project. I put together a technical advisory group which included Phyllis Elston, Jim Greller, Doug Bowen of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers, and Pat O'Connor from Assemblyman Joe Doria's office. Also included was Gordon Thompson with the Buffalo, New York, Light Rail system, who served as a technical advisor. Attorney Steve Sinisi of Paramus, and Finance Advisor Greg Roukema also became participants in that group. I worked closely with all of the panel members. We did a lot of brainstorming, and ultimately followed the original routes of the interurban trolley lines. We decided to put together what was then called the Hudson Waterfront Line. We later changed that to become the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line, because we wished to include, in the total system, both Hudson and Bergen counties. In competition with our project at that time was the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL).
Our panel determined that we should develop a Light Rail line that we could bring to operation quickly. Out of that mission arose the concept of DBOM- Design, Build, Operate and Maintain- a public-private partnership which would cut years off traditional planning/ funding/building methods. Chuck Haytaian and I met with newly-elected Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and I gave her my entire presentation. She gave me the go-ahead to move on the Light Rail project. Subsequently, she appointed Brian Clymer as State Treasurer, who had experience with railroads on the national level. He in turn recommended that Frank Wilson be named Commissioner of Transportation. Without this experienced team, there likely would be no Light Rail system in place today.
One important concept promoted by our panel early-on continues to be maintained by the present administration. The Office of New Rail Construction was established to ensure that new projects were given full attention and focus, so they would not falter. Through that office, we were able to put together a grant request for Federal TEA-21 funds, which garnered 80% of all of the transportation grants available nationwide that year. This enabled us to proceed with the $1.2 billion project. The proactive work of the original Light Rail panel, in conjunction with engineering contractor Raytheon, started the project moving forward. Today, Twenty-First Century Rail Corp. now leads the consortium of Washington Group International, and Kinkisharyo.
The success of the Hudson County portion of the Light Rail is evidenced by the economic growth in both Jersey City and Bayonne. I value the partnership of Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria, and Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, as we work toward the goal of utilizing Light Rail as an economic engine during a time of deep recession here in the Northeast. We continue our progress by passing a resolution to extend the Light Rail MOS-3 segment into the northern part of Bergen County. In this manner, we can plowed into Bergen as a cost-effective undertaking. We do wish to see the Light Rail expand into other parts of Bergen County, and ultimately into Passaic County. It has been our plan for Light Rail to connect with heavy commuter rail, ferries, and buses, making it a linchpin of intermodal transportation. I believe we should evaluate the feasibility of Light Rail vs. commuter rail between the Meadowlands complex and the Secaucus Transfer facility on the Northeast Corridor, and subsequently into Hoboken.
Light Rail is an ongoing project, and I thank all those who have made this effort a success. Project managers, union members, and rail supporters all helped grow a seed of an idea into a successful transportation system. I also wish to thank Chuck Haytaian and former Governor Whitman for the faith they placed in me.
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