Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Senate Democrat Bob Menendez stopped by the Ridgewood Train station Monday morning for a photo op to pitch the Federal Transit Bill

Senate Democrat Bob Menendez stopped by the Ridgewood Train station Monday morning for a photo op to pitch the Federal Transit Bill 
the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

(RIDGEWOOD-NJ) Senate Democrat Bob Menendez stopped by the Ridgewood Train station Monday morning for a photo op to pitch the Federal Transit Bill that will give New Jersey $63M in federal transit funding if it's passed by the Senate.

The bill also contains a number of programs the Senator championed including:

A New $20 Million Transit Oriented Development Planning Program.  The $20 million program will help communities create more livable communities by planning new development around new transit hubs.  The provision is based on similar language in Senator Menendez’s Livable communities Act, and in New Jersey would work in tandem with the state’s Transit Village program.

Increased Funding for the National Transit Institute at Rutgers (NTI) [$5million]. NTI provides training, education, and clearinghouse services in support of public transportation and quality of life for the entire nation.  In recent years this important national program has seen its funding slashed, despite the increased need for training in the face of an ongoing wave of retirements in the industry. This bill will raise NTI’s funding to $5 million per year from $3.8 million.

Increased Clean Fuels Program Funding [From $51.5M to $65M].  This competitive program for clean fuel transit vehicles and for refueling infrastructure will help agencies switch from dirty, expensive fuels, to cleaner, cheaper fuels.  This will help improve air quality and allow transit agencies to untether themselves from volatile oil prices.

Increased Funding for Transportation for Seniors and the Disabled [NJ Funding Goes From $6.5 M to $7.8 M]. With demand for senior transportation increasing, the bill is able to meet that demand with increased resources.

Streamlined and Reformed “New Starts” Process. The bill streamlines the process for the federal approval of new projects and allows projects designed to increase capacity on existing systems rather than just allow new systems or new lines.  Older systems such as New Jersey’s that are at capacity could, for instance, use the program to add a new station, add another track, or purchase bigger train cars.

Menendez recently found himself out of party good graces when he became the first Democrat to reject one of President Obama's judicial appointments. He first claimed  Judge Patty Shwartz, whom Obama nominated in October, was not qualified to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.Later Menendez reversed himself and said he would support the nomination.

Menendez was also recently jilted when West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, a Hudson County Democrat,endorsed Republican State Sen. Kyrillos for the U.S. Senate seat held by Robert Menendez, also a fellow North Bergen Democrat.

Sources claim Sen Menendez  was invited to Ridgewood by his friend Councilmen Paul Aronsohn . The funny thing is that no media sources except for the "Patch" also a friend of the Councilmen covered the event.

Observes found it odd the the Senator would use the controversial Ridgewood Train station as a back drop to promote more transit spending when the station has come under so much criticism for the $800,000 gutters, $2million dollars for the roof and ADA compliant elevators to nowhere .

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