HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — More than half of the nation’s mass transit commuters ride the rails on the Northeast Corridor.
“I would think we need the money here on the northeast,” Kevin Mattessich told CBS2’s Christine Sloan.
But a Republican Congresswoman from Washington state disagrees.
Jaimie Herrera is responsible for cutting $1.7-billion in transit money to seven states in the northeast, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York.
Her amendment to a transportation bill passed in the house diverts money to bus programs in all states.
“I think it’s an issue of fairness, Mr. Speaker. The idea that seven states have available to them, more money than all fifty states combined isn’t fair to my community or yours,” she said.
Fifty-million would have gone to NJ Transit, which has been dealing with cancellations and delays because of a century old infrastructure.
“It funded capital projects, fixing up train stations, fixing up the rails,” Congressman Albio Sires, (D) Hudson County, said.
Sires, appointed to a joint Senate and House committee, has been fighting to get the transit funds back into a compromise bill.
“This big transportation hub we have on the east coat, we have to maintain it,” he said.
The loss comes as a Federal Railroad Administration report says not making improvements on the rails will cost the U.S. in the long run.
It suggested funding a new tunnel project in New Jersey, a new rail tunnel from Long Island to Connecticut, and high-speed rail between Washington D.C. and Boston with stops in New York.
“High speed would be great,” Kyle Flaherty said.
As for the lost transit money, Sires said they have to come up with an agreement by November 20, because that’s when short term funding for the program itself runs out.