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Our fragile cross-Hudson transportation system


Dear Editor:

You better pray that NY Waterway is allowed to keep their property that they legally purchased last Nov. 3, 2017 at the old Union Dry Dock site. The City of Hoboken is threatening to acquire the land by eminent domain if NY Waterway will not agree to sell it to them. But then why should they sell it to the City of Hoboken? They bought the old Union Dry Dock site with docks and riparian water rights because they have lost their dry dock in Weehawken and there is no other dry dock in the vicinity of Weehawken that they can use for the maintenance and refueling of their ferries. Docks are already in place for the ferries to function and the location allows them to meet their time schedules of crossings.
The ability to cross the Hudson on a ferry, which is out Hoboken’s front door, also benefits the 30,000 people who use it to travel daily into New York. Sure, you have the options of the bus, the PATH, and then there is NJ Transit trains, but how many options will we have when Dec. 31, 2018 comes around?
If you have not been paying attention and have not heard of Positive Train Control by now, you soon will in the coming months because a serious deadline is coming due. All options of travel need to be available to commute into New York and that definitely means that NY Waterway’s ferry system must continue to operate.
The Federal government has mandated that all commuter rail lines must have the Positive Train Control in place by the end of this year and NJ Transit was already given a three-year extension in December of 2015.
From the Feb. 15, 2018 Jersey Journal article:
“New Jersey Transit is one of the two northeast commuter railroads ‘most at risk’ of missing the Dec. 31 deadline to install automatic speed control on its locomotives and tracks, the head of Amtrak told a Senate committee Thursday.
‘Where they are at this stage won’t allow them to make the deadline,’ said Albio Sires, D-8th Dist., a member of the railroads subcommittee.
A Federal Railroad Administration progress report showed that as of Dec. 31, 2017, just 8 percent of NJ Transit’s locomotives and none of its tracks were equipped with positive train control, a system designed to automatically slow down or stop trains to avoid collisions.
Amtrak President Richard Anderson told the House railroads subcommittee Thursday that commuter lines without positive train control, or PTC, could not use its tracks after the deadline.
NJ Transit trains could be kept out of the Hudson River tunnels to New York City if the commuter railroad fails to meet a year-end deadline for installing an automatic speed control system on its tracks and in its locomotives.”

Yes, NJ Transit trains could be banned from tunnels to NYC at year’s end, yes Hoboken’s Mayor and City Council could put NY Waterway out of business, and yes 30,000 people’s ferry commute into New York would go away.
Please do not eminent domain NY Waterway’s land.

Mary Ondrejka

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