Slamming Amtrak’s and NJ Transit’s response to the Penn Station derailment, Senator Bob Gordon (D-38) and Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27) announced that they are summoning officials from both agencies to a joint hearing of the Senate Legislative Oversight and Assembly Judiciary Committees to investigate the derailment.
The April 28 hearing will focus on the causes of the New York Penn Station derailments; the safety, maintenance and repair of Penn Station’s tracks and signaling system, and Amtrak’s and NJ Transit’s contingency planning and response to the massive commuter delays that followed Monday morning’s derailment.
“The derailment of two trains in less than two weeks at New York’s Penn Station raises serious safety concerns for both NJ Transit and Amtrak riders, and underscores the poor state of repair that has plagued both railroads and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who count on our mass transit system to provide safe, reliable and on-time service,” said Senator Gordon, who chairs the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee.
“Both NJ Transit and Amtrak have some answering to do, and I don’t want to hear excuses or blaming others,” said Assemblyman McKeon, the Assembly Judiciary Committee chairman. “Amtrak needs to step up its maintenance and safety efforts, but Governor Christie has diverted nearly $3 billion in NJ Transit capital funding to day-to-day operations, and the increasingly unreliable and overcrowded mass transit agency he oversees is under federal investigation after suffering the most accidents among the nation’s largest commuter railroads. Commuters deserve better. Taxpayers deserve better. New Jersey’s economy deserves better.”
The two legislators said the hearing would be held in Committee Room 4 of the Statehouse Annex at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 28, and that NJ Transit and Amtrak officials were invited to testify earlier this week. The two committees have held a series of joint hearings on NJ Transit issues in the wake of the fatal Hoboken derailment last fall.