Sen. Diegnan Examines NJ Transit and NJ's Infrastructure

Steve Adubato sits down with Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D) – NJ, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, to examine the issues with NJ Transit and the state’s infrastructure.

11/23/19 #326






"This is State Senator Patrick Diegnan, who is the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. Good to see you Senator. Thanks for having me. How are we doing with New Jersey Transit? Oh, I mean... I just figured I'd jump right into it. I mean, I know it's... I know it's easy to pile on. I'm not making jokes! [laughter] I'm just asking! That's easy to pile on, Steve. I'm not... [laughter] And don't talk about how long it took... I heard your train... to get here. No. Because I heard your train was late today. [laughter] I... [laughter] No, but seriously. What do you think...? I don't want to say "the problem" - the primary problems are with New Jersey Transit? Well, let's be perfectly honest. Neglect. I mean, it had at least four years of total neglect. No training classes for engineers. Diverting the money from the Turnpike to... for day-to-day operations. I mean, positive traction control... positive train control hadn't even begun. I mean, the... in full disclosure, the governor, the commissioner, the director, were really left with a you-know-what... that problem when they came in. It sounds like you're putting this on the Christie Administration. Isn't that too easy, respectfully Senator? Well... [laughter] No no. But do you really believe that that is the primary cause of where we are right now? Yes. With trains that are delayed? Cancelled? No communication? Or terrible communication? Forget about the bus side. I mean seriously? You're putting it all on Christie? Okay. Okay. Let's first of all, about 500,000 people a day take New Jersey trains... the buses and the trains. Right. We have the unique situation of a significant... probably more than half our population works either in New York or Pennsylvania. Yeah. In Philadelphia. So you have such a demand on the structure... we have this situation with the tunnel. You and I both know, they're talking about the one-seat. They can't even approve anymore one-seats, because there's no capacity in the tunnel. If Chris Christie, in fairness... and I like Chris Christie... Are you talking about because he was against the tunnel? The ARC tunnel? No... if the ARC tunnel... it'd be done right now. What would it be...? It'd be done. Ten years? It'd be... no! [laughter] No no no. It was ten...? But it was eight... they had actually started... Okay. ...acquiring the property when Chris Christie... What would be in place right now if Christie hadn't done that? The ARC tunnel would be done. We were about to... But what would that have to do with transportation? Well it would have to do with trains getting into New York City. I mean... and the one-seat, and all the other issues... I mean, is it a problem? Is it something that we need? I..."