Saturday, May 27, 2017

DELUCA AND COLLUM BLAST ANOTHER NJ TRANSIT MEETING DELAY; PLAN TO SHOW UP ANYWAY

NJ Transit may have messed with the wrong people when they continued to delay a meeting with Mayor Vic Deluca and his South Orange counterpart, Village President Sheena Collum, over the plan to divert all Midtown Direct trains to Hoboken in July and August.

Within hours of the announced diversion plan this week, Deluca and Collum penned an angry letter demanding a change in the approach and a meeting with officials.

The agency agreed to meet with the duo on Friday. But the state agency delayed it again to Tuesday, citing a need to allow for more participants. Deluca and Collum were fine with that.

But Friday afternoon they got word that the troubled transit agency wanted to push it back again, this time to Wednesday. A letter from the train line cited "extenuating circumstances." (Read it HERE)

That did not sit well with the two towns' top public officials. And they plan to show up on Tuesday anyway.

And from the looks of statements they issued Friday, they will be ready to fight.

Deluca posted on Facebook that "this is BS and unacceptable."

He also sent the following comment to Maplewoodian.com: 

I and my elected colleagues will be at NJ Transit headquarters on Tuesday, May 30th at 2pm to meet with Executive Director Steven Santoro. We are not standing for any further delays in having this meeting. We will be there Tuesday and expect to meet.

Tuesday's meeting was scheduled in good faith after Transit asked to postpone the meeting originally scheduled for Friday, May 26th. It appears this was just a stalling tactic so you could push the meeting back even further into June. This is totally unacceptable and now I question the veracity of the reason for Friday's postponement.

It is shocking but not surprising that Transit is treating us in this disrespectful manner. Sadly, it is all to often similar to the way Transit treats our commuting constituents. We will be there on Tuesday at 2pm and expect to meet with Mr. Santoro. 

Collum, meanwhile, stated: 

This is incredibly offensive. We were told a meeting on Friday (today) at 1pm would occur with the Executive Director of NJ Transit and everyone adjusted their schedules accordingly. Then you requested on behalf of NJ Transit that the meeting be moved to next Tuesday, May 30th.

While we certainly weren’t pleased and saw this as nothing more than a delay tactic, we again, adjusted all of our schedules to accommodate your agency and at the time, I advised you that we would be reaching out to other mayors and officials to attend the “work meeting” with NJ Transit (we had some of our elected officials move scheduled patients around to attend next week). 

Now, on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, you are again postponing a discussion that needs to be occurring now not 2 weeks after we all watched a press conference to learn how our towns were going to be impacted. The “continuing extenuating circumstance" is that NJ Transit and Amtrak prematurely made decisions without any discussion with the elected officials and their communities impacted by these changes which elevate much further than just delays and inconvenience but if not executed properly, pose a tremendous public safety risk to all riders.

It is clear as day that no one over there expected this level of political blowback (although I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t) and now are scrambling for answers. What is the plan? What are we supposed to be telling our constituents? Please don’t thank us for our patience, because we’re anything but patient right now. 

Stay tuned!

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