Representative Malinowski Reacts to Raritan Valley Line One-Seat Ride Feasibility Study
(Somerville, NJ) Representative Tom Malinowski was briefed by New Jersey Transit and the engineering firm Dewberry on the results of the study to determine the feasibility of introducing peak-hour, one-seat service into New York Penn Station for the Raritan Valley Line (RVL). During the briefing, Representative Malinowski expressed dissatisfaction with the limited number of options presented after six full months of study, and the unacceptably long timelines associated with each of the options included in the report. He challenged the authors of the study to consider alternative scenarios to quickly bring about direct peak-hour service into Manhattan for the tens of thousands of New Jerseyeans who rely on the RVL each day.
Specifically, Representative Malinowski pressed the engineers about why the introduction of shoulder-peak direct service (arrivals pre-7am/post-9:20am), the least ambitious of the scenarios presented, would require six years to implement. He also proposed solutions for maintaining skip stop service in a one-seat ride system, and questioned why assets from other lines – those with upwards of a dozen peak-hour trains going in and out of Penn Station each day – can’t be distributed in a more equitable way.
“My constituents who rely on the Raritan Valley Line can’t wait another 6 or 8 or 10 years for expanded direct service into New York City—they’ve been getting the short end for too long as it is. I was glad to engage directly and candidly with the study’s authors to push them to think more creatively about this problem. In the meantime, I will continue to pull every lever I have available in Washington to deliver for the commuters in my district,” said Representative Malinowski.
Since coming to Congress, Representative Malinowski has been an outspoken advocate for RVL riders. In May 2019, he took to the House floor to highlight the challenges experienced by commuters on the line and to call for large investments in transit infrastructure. In October 2019, he joined Governor Phil Murphy and local leaders to announce the restoration of off-peak direct service into Penn Station, saying at the time that “[t]he restoration of off-peak one-seat ride service is a good step forward, and I’m grateful to Governor Murphy for working with my office, as well as with the Raritan Valley Line Mayor’s Alliance and the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, to make it happen.” In November 2019, he met with New Jersey Transit CEO Kevin Corbett to discuss the path forward for peak-hour, one-seat ride for RVL riders. And in March 2020, he helped to secure $1.4 billion for New Jersey Transit as part of the CARES Act.
Representative Malinowski, New Jersey Transit officials, and Dewberry engineers agreed that the long-term solution for RVL riders is the completion of the Gateway project. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Representative Malinowski secured provisions in the recently-passed INVEST in America Act to fund projects of regional and national significance like Gateway and to speed approvals for the tunnels. He has also been relentless in pressuring the Trump Administration to advance the Portal Bridge replacement project into the engineering phase, a critical step before construction can begin. In June, it did so.