NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — North Brunswick, New Jersey is meant to be a transit village – but the community is missing something important for that distinction.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, a giant billboard off Route 1 in North Brunswick reads, “Shop, dine, ride, live,” with an image of a train.
But there is no train station in North Brunswick. There is just a big pile of dirt.
Raj Rana, the owner of the Greene Turtle Bar & Restaurant, had hoped his tables would be filled with commuters going in and out of the new North Brunswick transit village from opening day onward. His restaurant opened five weeks ago.
“I am hoping to stay afloat, obviously,” Rana said.
The plan for the transit village was announced in a letter from Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.
“It’s New Jersey. Usually, things take a little longer than you expect,” Rana said, “but definitely anticipated train station coming sooner than later.”
But now, North Brunswick Mayor Mac Womack calls the hub a long-shot bet.
“The Federal Railroad Administration has us as one of the projects that needs to be done in Northeast, and New Jersey Transit has met with us many times. It’s a project, I think, that they want to move forward, but there’s no funding,” Womack said.
A Target and a Costco opened months ago at the proposed hub site. A hotel and 800 housing units are going up within walking distance of where the NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor mid-line loop was proposed to alleviate traffic on highways and get workers to New York City more quickly.
“I’m not sure anybody ever laid out a full original timeline,” Womack said. “But I’ve always believed from when we began that by 2018, we would have something.”
But the future of Main Street is unclear. NJ TRANSIT said the project is not included in its current capital program.
In response to the delay in funding, NJ TRANSIT said, “Capital plans adapt to current situations and to meet priority safety, state of good repair, and operational needs.”
The mayor said he is looking for alternative ways to fund the train stop. One way may be through the new gas tax.
A total of 1,700 houses are proposed for the plot, but only 300 will be allowed to be built until the train station is completed.