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NEWARK LIGHT RAIL OPENS TO SUPPORT CITY'S ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION
Connects Newark's two train stations through business district
July 17, 2006
Contact: Dan Stessel 973 491-7078
NEWARK, NJ - Governor Jon S. Corzine today celebrated the next step of economic revitalization for the State's largest city with the opening of Newark Light Rail, which connects two of NJ TRANSIT's busiest train stations - Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street Station - to the downtown district.
The new line includes five new stations that serve the city's downtown business district and recreational destinations, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, The Newark Museum and the Broad Street commercial corridor. Passenger service began at the conclusion of today's opening ceremony, where the Governor was joined by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Senator Robert Menendez, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri and other local, state and federal officials.
"The opening of the Newark Light Rail will provide our state's residents and visitors with improved access to employment, entertainment, and educational opportunities," said Governor Corzine. "This project will yield dividends measured in the improved quality of life of our citizens and the economic revitalization of our state's largest city."
Construction on the $207.7 million Newark Light Rail project began in 2002, and was completed on budget. The Federal Transit Administration provided $166 million for the project under a full-funding grant agreement. The remaining $41 million was provided by New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund.
Newark Light Rail offers customers an opportunity to make convenient connections to six of NJ TRANSIT's commuter rail lines, Amtrak and PATH trains and NJ TRANSIT bus service from several downtown employment centers and entertainment destinations. The one-mile line is projected to carry 4,000 average weekday trips after one year, growing to about 7,000 trips in 2010.
"This new rail line will connect downtown Newark to our great regional transportation system," said Sen. Lautenberg. "This is a great day for the city of Newark."
"Today's opening of Newark Light Rail marks another milestone in public transportation options in New Jersey," said Sen. Menendez. "I am very proud to have fought for funding for Newark Light Rail when I was the senior New Jersey Member on the House Transportation Committee. Now, as a Senator on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee, which oversees public transportation, I intend to fight even harder to make sure that New Jersey gets federal money for important transit projects such as this, to ensure that our state continues to be a leader in providing safe, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation options to our residents."
"The opening of the light rail system is an exciting day in Newark," Mayor Booker said. "Dozens of our leaders have been involved in making this happen. It will open up great new opportunities and help to make one of our nation's super transportation infrastructures even better."
"Transportation projects such as Newark Light Rail and the improvement of Route 21/McCarter Highway will keep business moving in Newark," said State Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chairman Kris Kolluri. "Both projects expand mobility and support development in the downtown area."
During the ceremony, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington welcomed several area employees who plan to ride Newark Light Rail to work and points beyond.
"Newark Light Rail provides faster, more convenient commuting options for thousands of employees who work in the city's downtown business area, as well as visitors who are looking for entertainment and shopping destinations," Warrington said. "Newark's downtown is now connected to the rest of the region through NJ TRANSIT's commuter rail and bus networks."
After the speaking program, guests were invited to take an inaugural tour of the light rail system. At each new station, NJ TRANSIT's downtown business partners were on hand to showcase the destinations that are now accessible to thousands of NJ TRANSIT customers. At the NJPAC/Center Street station, for example, the students of NJPAC's Arts Education training programs performed vocal and keyboard arrangements. The Newark Museum brought zoo animals to the Washington Park Station to highlight its summer program, and the Newark Bears mascot gave away free items at the Riverfront Stadium station.
NJ TRANSIT customers can ride Newark Light Rail at no additional charge with a valid monthly or weekly rail pass valued at $45 or greater. Bus customers may purchase a Newark Light Rail monthly pass, which is valid for one zone of travel at no additional charge on NJ TRANSIT buses, NJ TRANSIT contract carriers and local bus routes operated by private carriers accepting an NJ TRANSIT Bus Card.
A Newark Light Rail single-trip adult ticket is $1.25, valid for 60 minutes. Reduced fare tickets (60 cents) are available for seniors, customers with disabilities and children ages 5-11. Discounted monthly passes are available for $45.
On weekdays, Newark Light Rail will provide service every 10 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours. On weekends, the light rail service will operate every 30 minutes with departures timed for convenient connections with arriving trains at Broad Street Station. Like the Newark City Subway, the new light rail line will provide service from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. NJ TRANSIT will work closely with entertainment venues to coordinate service on event days.
At Newark Penn Station, Newark Light Rail customers are able to make cross-platform transfers with the Newark City Subway, which today provides 18,300 weekday trips at 12 stations between Newark Penn Station and Grove Street Station in Bloomfield. Customers can transfer from the subway to Newark Light Rail at no charge using the same valid ticket.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 827,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.