JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Calling it one of the most foolish proposals he’s seen in six years, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop urged lawmakers Sunday not to mess with overnight PATH service.

The suggestion to eliminate the service between 1 and 5 a.m. on weeknights is buried on page 81 of a 100-page report from a special panel formed by Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo to reform the Port Authority.

The governors both vetoed reform legislation that was almost unprecedentedly approved by Republicans and Democrats in both states, instead asking lawmakers to consider the special panel’s recommendations, which they feel is more comprehensive.

“Candidly, I was surprised and a little bit disappointed,” New Jersey State Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi told CBS2’s Steve Langford.

“If you are not for eliminating this proposal, I can’t imagine how you are for New Jersey,” Fulop told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

The recommendation says ridership falls off so much during the overnights that stopping service altogether could save $10 million a year.

“We should be investing in mass transportation, not cutting it,” Fulop said.

Fulop also argued that overnight PATH service is not there just for fun.

“They’re not only nighttime revelers, but they often are working family — janitorial staff, security workers,” Fulop said.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued a news release also blasting the proposal as “irresponsible” and “penny wise and dollar foolish.”

“Shutting down overnight PATH service will cost the State of New Jersey many times the supposed savings in lost economic activity, sales tax and business tax revenues,” she said. “Cities like Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark are growing because residents and businesses want good access to transportation options like the PATH. It is incomprehensible that any New Jersey official would be willing to even consider this proposal that would only hurt the State’s economy.”

The proposal doesn’t sit well with PATH riders who spoke with CBS2’s Scott Rapoport either.

“Oh that would not be good, no,” said one rider.

“It would make any transportation between Manhattan and New Jersey almost impossible over night,” said Ashley Dubin.

The legislation to reduce political interference and patronage at the Port Authority won unanimous approval in Albany and Trenton following the Bridgegate scandal and toll hikes, but the governors rejected the bills, and instead endorsed the changes recommended by the special bi-state panel they appointed, Langford reported.

“No one can be against increasing transparency and accountability at the Port Authority, especially after the year we’ve had,” said New Jersey State Assemblyman John Wisniewski.

Wisniewski said the plan put forward by Christie and Cuomo doesn’t go nearly far enough.

“Having laws in place that would institutionalize the requirement that documents be available; that would institutionalize the requirement meetings be more transparent and open seems to be a no-brainer,” he said.

A statement from the governors said, “While neither governor is approving the legislation as passed, they are urging their respective legislatures and the Port Authority to work with them to implement the broad reforms package recommended by the special panel.”

The vetoes by two governors who may both have presidential aspirations also serve to kick this reform can of worms down the road or across the bridge for at least the next couple of years, Langford reported.

The chairman of the Port Authority who was on the panel that prepared the report said the recommendations are not final and that curtailing services on PATH trains is one of several options to save money, Rapoport reported.

Among the changes the governors are implementing: appointing a single chief executive to run the agency instead of having an executive director and a deputy executive.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”news” posts_per_page=”4″]