Clean Water Action praises Governor, Legislature for NJ Transit reform law
NJ Transit critical to improving state's economy, combating climate crisis, improving public health
Lives and livelihoods at stake
Summit, NJ -- Clean Water Action released the following statement today at Governor Murphy's bill signing of the NJ Transit reform bill (S630, sponsored by Senators Weinberg [D-Bergen], Kean [R-Union], and Greenstein [D-Middlesex] as well as Assembly members McKeon [D-Essex], Benson [D-Mercer] and Jones [D-Camden]).
"These reforms - ranging from audits, ethics, and transparency to public, employee and commuter advocacy - lay the ground work to not only undo the damage wrought by the Christie Administration but also restore and surpass NJ Transit's once sterling reputation. NJ Transit plays an essential role in the state's economy as a major employer and providing nearly a million commuter trips each weekday. NJ Transit plays an equally important role in protecting public health and combating the climate crisis by decreasing automobile traffic, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey.
"It's been great to see the cooperative effort by the Murphy Administration, legislative sponsors and leadership, and advocates that got us here today. That cooperation has to continue as NJ Transit tackles so many major challenges -- improving service, expensive fares, reduced routes, depleted work force and operating budget, underfunded capital fund, electrification of the fleet, Positive Train Control, and the Gateway Project, especially the Portal Bridge and Hudson River Tunnel.
“The stakes couldn't be higher - not only livelihoods but lives. Low income and communities of color, like Newark, are disproportionately dependent on public transit-buses and rail-for transportation and disproportionally impacted by the cumulative impact of diesel and other forms of air pollution. These ground level fumes are vacuumed up into our lungs causing lifelong health harms (heart attacks, cancer, strokes) to transit riders, workers and the community,” said Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey State Director for Clean Water Action. “NJ Transit done right can reduce our carbon footprint, 'heat island effect' (city temperatures hotter than suburbs), the number of children gasping for air from an asthma attack, ER visits and, more often than you think, premature death for those most vulnerable.”
Clean Water Action has more than 150,000 members statewide in New Jersey and is the nation's largest grassroots group focused on water, energy and environmental health. Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress. www.cleanwater.org/nj