Recognizing that an adequate transportation network is vital to our national and local economy, I continue to work to secure annual Federal funding for vital public transportation, rail, and road efforts. Northern New Jersey is our nation's most densely populated state. I understand the importance of reducing congestion, making travel more efficient, and protecting our environment.
Rodney's key mass transportation initiatives include:
* Lackawanna "Cutoff"-Northwest NJ-Northeast PA Passenger Rail Project - an ongoing effort to relieve congestion for commuters traveling to and from eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey by reestablishing passenger rail service between Scranton and Hoboken.
* The establishment of Midtown Direct Service in 1996-- direct service on the Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton transit lines to and from Penn Station, New York, as well as the modernization of stations and trains along these lines.
* Improving commuter access to Midtown Manhattan.
* Establishment and expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail in 2000 - a seven-station light rail project that serves Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and West New York.
* Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link in 2006- an 8.8 mile light rail system that connects the Newark City Subway with downtown Newark and Elizabeth as well as provide a connection for Morris/Essex and Boonton NJ Transit line commuters.
* Amtrak -- In 2008, Congress passed legislation reauthorizing up to $2 billion for Amtrak in 2009, opening the Northeast Corridor to private competition, increasing safety in passenger and freight trains, and improving accountability of the rail operator.
Rodney has also worked to reduce road congestion supporting:
* Mount Arlington Station and the Howard Boulevard "Park and Ride" -- Working with the Morris County Freeholders to open a highway intercept, regional Park & Ride, and NJ Transit station designed to alleviate congestion at a critical intersection of Routes 80 and 15. It opened in January of 2008.
* Route 22 Sustainable Corridor Plan -- Working with the Somerset County Freeholders and Somerset County Business Partnership to establish a long-term vision for the 8-mile stretch of Route 22 in Somerset County to improve traffic safety and manage congestion.
* New Jersey Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) -- used to transport the general public from urban, suburban, and rural areas to suburban employment opportunities.
Reducing Aircraft Noise
For over 20 years, I have been a staunch advocate for reducing aircraft noise over northern New Jersey and have attended dozens of public hearings, had meetings with officials from the FAA, and responded to thousands of calls from constituents whose lives have been affected by existing air traffic patterns and related noise. While the safety of passengers is paramount, and the vitality of the air transport system is important, people on the ground have a right to a quality of life with a minimum exposure to air noise overhead.
* I have written and cosigned dozens of letters to the FAA and Department of Transportation throughout his entire tenure in the House of Representatives on the issue of aircraft noise.
* In 2005, the FAA released its initial proposal for redesigning the Airspace for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia metropolitan region. That proposal would have resulted in noise increases for over 300,000 people throughout the region! I demanded that the FAA undertake a Noise Mitigation Study to ensure that environmental concerns, particularly that of aircraft noise, are factored into any airspace planning.
* I led a meeting in his office with Rep. Garrett, Acting Administrator Sturgell, and several FAA officials, where I continued to assert the importance of aircraft noise considerations.
* In the previous Congress, I cosponsored an amendment to H.R. 2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act, to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the possibility of utilizing market-based strategies for air congestion reduction as an alternative to the FAA Airspace Redesign plan.
* This amendment, which is designed to evaluate the FAA's claim that the airspace redesign is the only solution to reduce congestion at these airports, has been incorporated to the current proposed FAA Reauthorization bill.
* During consideration of the 2009 FAA authorization bill, Rep. Frelinghuysen offered an amendment to require the FAA to report on any changes to the "Class B" airspace that surrounds major airports.
* During consideration of the FY 2010 FAA appropriations bill in July of 2009, Rep. Frelinghuysen offered an amendment that would have suspended the FAA's ill-considered "preferred alternative" airspace design for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia region. This amendment had bipartisan support from Representatives throughout the region.
"We need to continue to press the FAA to consider additional options to alleviate flight delays in a manner that will not result in more aircraft noise."