Last week, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) spoke during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing, advocating for improved commuter rail in Rockland County, including a one-seat train ride from Rockland into New York City.
“As Congress considers legislation to build and improve our infrastructure for a more sustainable future, commuter rail must be an important part of the conversation,” said Jones. “I strongly believe that we must invest in commuter rail to improve existing service and expand it for those who lack access.”
For Rockland residents to commute to New York City by train, they must take New Jersey transit to the Secaucus Junction Station, and then transfer to a different train to get to Penn Station. Jones argued that this is “deeply inconvenient” and makes Rockland less appealing for working families.
Jones highlighted that Westchester residents do not share this issue. “Contrast that with my constituents in Westchester County, who live on the other side of the Hudson River and ride to and from our nation’s economic capital, New York City, every day on the Metro-North Railroad without ever having to transfer to a different train,” said Jones.
The congressman argued that the one-seat ride to New York City has helped Westchester County flourish, and stated Rockland’s need for the same service.
Jones said that the completion of the Gateway Program would allow Rocklanders to take a one-seat ride to Penn Station. The construction of the Hudson River Tunnel and the expansion of Penn Station have been long-term goals for the state’s development; both projects are currently in their planning stages. “I am confident that with this new administration and support from Congress, these projects will be built without further delay,” said Jones.
For the one-seat ride to be successful, the Gateway Program must also build a pathway. Jones said that the project, called the Bergen Loop, will eliminate the need to transfer trains at Secaucus Station.
“People in suburban communities benefit from convenient, reliable public transportation to urban areas,” said Jones. “It allows them the ability to move to more affordable neighborhoods while maintaining access to the economic opportunities in the city…and that is what my constituents in Rockland deserve.”