A Subway Ride to New Jersey? It Could Happen, Officials Say

FEB. 27, 2018

The escalator to the No. 7 train in Flushing, Queens. The subway line could one day carry riders across the Hudson River to New Jersey.

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The idea of connecting the No. 7 subway line to New Jersey may not be quite dead yet.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is commissioning a long-term study of ways to expand the use of rapid transit across the Hudson River, and it expects to get some help from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway.

The two authorities are teaming with New York City and New Jersey Transit to consider a wide range of options for increasing commuting capacity two decades down the road. This week, the Port Authority received several bids from firms seeking the contract to produce the study, said Rick Cotton, the agency’s executive director.

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Baraka: Jobless rate for young black men is a national disgrace. What we're doing | Opinion

By Ras J. Baraka

Posted Feb 23, 2018

 

The U.S. economy is recovering from the great recession, yet the recovery has barely touched young black men. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately one out of every three black young men is unemployed, while white youth unemployment is roughly half that rate. Nationally, nearly 7 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and not working. T

hat's a national disgrace. Roughly 7,000 of these young people are in Newark alone, the majority of whom are young men of color.

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MURPHY JOINS FELLOW DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS TO HELP STEM GUN VIOLENCE

CARLY SITRIN | FEBRUARY 23, 2018

NJ Spotlight

 

If stronger gun control cannot be enacted on a national basis, it can on a regional basis - at least that's the thinking behind a new multistate group called the Coalition of States for Gun Safety. Gov. Phil Murphy, along with fellow Democratic governors of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, announced a memorandum of understanding between the states to share intelligence and databases on gun issues.

"Gun violence is not a New Jersey problem, a New York problem, a Connecticut problem, a Rhode Island problem, or a problem for any particular state or region. It is a national problem," Murphy said. "We cannot wait for Congress or the President to act. As states, we must work together to take the steps and enact measures to protect our residents and our communities."

The coalition will create a joint task force to trace and intercept illegal guns crossing state lines, a coordinated plan to respond to threats of mass gun violence by sharing law enforcement resources, and a regional gun-violence research consortium leveraging universities to study and produce reports on gun violence.

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New Jersey Transit’s Hidden Danger: Bad Brakes, Bare Wires, Rotten Parts

By Elise Young

Federal inspectors found scores of New Jersey Transit train cars riddled with fire risks, faulty brakes and electrical hazards as they scrutinized the troubled railroad that brings 95,000 workers to Manhattan daily.

One engine was so defective it was declared unsafe, documents obtained under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act show. In some cases, NJ Transit’s own checks failed to identify faults brought to light a day or two later by Federal Railroad Administration officials. One was a locomotive with seized air valves and misaligned foundation gear that compromised the braking system’s very core. Another had broken equipment that provides traction on slippery tracks.

While federal regulators regularly inspect railroads, safety failures at NJ Transit led them to conduct a deeper audit in 2016. Though the agency appears to have mostly resolved its findings, the inspectors last year tested NJ Transit equipment with unprecedented frequency, uncovering persistent defects that speak to years of budget starvation and routine risks for more than 300,000 daily riders.

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GOV. MURPHY NAMES THREE WOMEN TO CABINET, ATTAINING FIRST FEMALE MAJORITY

COLLEEN O'DEA | FEBRUARY 21, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy with the three newest nominees to his cabinet (from left) Deirdre Webster Cobb, B. Sue Fulton, and Zakiya Smith Ellis

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With the nomination of three more women to his cabinet on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy has made history, creating New Jersey’s first female-majority cabinet, as well as the state’s most diverse cabinet to date.

The latest nominees are a former education adviser to President Barack Obama, as secretary of higher education; a former U.S. Army captain and West Point graduate as chair of the Motor Vehicle commission; and a long-time employee of the state as chair of the civil service commission. Murphy introduced the three Tuesday at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

“With these three nominations … we are making history,” Murphy said. “For the first time in New Jersey in 242 years, the majority of the governor’s cabinet appointees will be female. It has taken us a short 56 governors to get to this point ... (But) it’s not just the number of women. I feel confident in saying New Jersey has the most diverse cabinet of any state in this nation.”

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NJ OFFICIALS SCRAMBLE TO SAVE TRANS-HUDSON RAIL TUNNEL AFTER TRUMP SNUB ON FUNDING

JOHN REITMEYER | FEBRUARY 20, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Train crossing the 100-year-old Portal Bridge. The swing gate opens when ships need to pass through, idling traffic until they're clear.

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President Donald Trump’s long-awaited federal-infrastructure proposal has dashed any remaining hope that his administration will commit significant federal dollars to a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel, and that’s left New Jersey’s elected officials and other advocates for the long-planned Gateway infrastructure project trying to figure out what to do next.

For some, the Trump administration’s latest snub is being viewed as a “call to action,” with Gov. Phil Murphy among those who’ve suggested it’s now up to members of the state’s congressional delegation to push hard to make sure Trump is overruled, and that significant federal funding for Gateway is eventually appropriated.

Others, led by state Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Gordon, suggest Trump’s infrastructure and spending proposals should add more urgency to ongoing efforts to boost trans-Hudson capacity through means other than a new tunnel. They include expanding the Port Authority’s PATH train service and adding capacity to the agency’s flagship Manhattan bus terminal.

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This is the first bill Murphy plans to sign as N.J. governor

Gov. Phil Murphy will sign legislation restoring state funding for New Jersey's family planning and health clinics at a ceremony Wednesday, making it the first bill to become law under his administration.

Murphy, a Democrat, made the announcement Monday at a tele-town hall with supporters of Planned Parenthood, the women's health care provider that lost state funding for eight years under Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

"You all have been up against a governor and an administration that opposed funding women's health as a matter of politics, not as smart policy," Murphy said. "Turning our state around to again stand for the right values starts here and it starts now."

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Trump tempts transportation cataclysm. Fund Gateway. | Editorial

Someone needs to inform President Trump that the Hudson River rail tunnels predate his mother by two years. When they opened, transportation alternatives included the Stanley Steamer and the Titanic, and they were dug by Pennsylvania Railroad for inter-city rail - not as a commuter line, and certainly not for a megalopolis.

No doubt, the rail tubes have led productive lives. We've run 20 times the number of trains that they were designed for, and we're up to 450 per day. We got our money's worth.

But now they're dying. Since Sandy, corrosion has been killing these tunnels from the inside out, concrete bench walls are caving in, pipes and cables are exposed, and beneath the skin, wires and steel are rusting.

Their inevitable failure is no longer measured in decades. Their failure will take place in years.

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MORE TRAIN CARS NOW, FIRST STEP TO EASE OVERCROWDING ON NJ TRANSIT

JOHN REITMEYER | FEBRUARY 16, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy announces measures to relieve overcrowded trains, with Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, acting commissioner of Department of Transportation.

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Gov. Phil Murphy yesterday announced a series of immediate steps that New Jersey Transit is taking to cut down on overcrowded trains, including bringing in train cars from out of state to help boost passenger capacity. He also signaled the state budget he’s planning to present next month will treat the beleaguered agency as a top priority.

Addressing problems at NJ Transit has been an area of emphasis for Murphy since he was sworn into office last month, and one of his first actions as governor was to launch a full-scale operational audit of the agency. That audit is ongoing.

Murphy’s administration also determined that NJ Transit was operating with nearly 40 fewer cars than it would need for a full fleet, with many sidelined for maintenance and equipment upgrades — conditions that have contributed to overcrowding on trains that often force passengers to stand, a common complaint aired on social media and other forums by regular commuters.

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Phil Murphy, Lou Greenwald Map Out Gun Control Efforts in New Jersey

By Steve Cronin • 

Gov. Phil Murphy vowed Tuesday to roll back Christie-era efforts to weaken concealed carry regulations while also tightening other state gun laws, including a plan that would limit the permitted size of gun magazines.

“Together, we can pass the laws that Governor Christie vetoed and reclaim our place as a state that acts on facts and common sense. We must again become a state that values the safety of our residents and communities over the misguided priorities of the gun lobby,” Murphy said during a round table event in Cherry Hill with gun activists and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald.

In 2014, Christie vetoed a bill limiting magazine capacity and refused to meet with parents of children slain at Sandy Hook Elementry School who supported the measure.

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