NEWARK, NJ – Visionary. Dedicated. Passionate. These are a few of the words used to describe Louis J. Gambaccini, the man responsible for helping to create the New Jersey Transit Corporation, the nation’s largest statewide transportation system. Today, more than 25 years later, Governor Jon S. Corzine honored Gambaccini in Newark with the dedication of the Corporation’s headquarters building at One Penn Plaza East, overlooking Newark Penn Station.
In 1978, then-Governor Brendan Byrne selected Gambaccini to serve as the state’s Transportation Commissioner at a period when New Jersey’s transportation system was an irrational, undercapitalized collection of nearly 30 bankrupt bus companies and seven freight railroads that were providing inadequate service. Gambaccini crafted a strategy to transform the system beginning with a series of policy papers, the most memorable of which was named "The Horror Story," culminating in legislation that created NJ TRANSIT in 1979 – the nation’s first statewide public transit agency.
"Lou Gambaccini’s enduring legacy continues to touch the lives of millions of New Jerseyans as they travel to work, school and leisure activities," said Governor Corzine, who attended today’s dedication ceremony. "NJ TRANSIT is an integral part of our state’s transportation network, which is central to our mobility, our economy, and our quality of life."
"As the first and founding chairman of the Board of Directors, Lou Gambaccini foresaw the day when New Jersey could deliver safe, reliable and affordable transportation," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri. "NJ TRANSIT continues to deliver on the dream that has become its mission statement."
"I am proud to be associated with the success story known as NJ TRANSIT," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "Thanks to Lou’s vision, the Corporation is a very relevant force in the state’s and the region’s development, competitiveness and economy."
To honor his historic contributions, "Louis J. Gambaccini Building" signage has been installed and a dedication plaque will be permanently displayed in the lobby of NJ TRANSIT headquarters.
The 300,000-square-foot Louis J. Gambaccini Building is home to 1,200 NJ TRANSIT employees who work in several key departments, including rail, bus and light rail operations; customer service; capital planning; and police.
Created in 1979, NJ TRANSIT began operating buses in 1982 and trains in 1983. Today, the Corporation provides more than 857,000 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.
Gambaccini also served at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), as he shaped transportation policy and developed innovative solutions for more than four decades of public service. He is currently a senior fellow at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.