Transportation advocates criticized plans Thursday to cut the Transit Village programs run by NJ Transit.
Janna Chernetz of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said during an Assembly Budget Committee roundtable discussion that cutting those programs is akin to “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
Among other things, the program creates housing and business around train stations, advocates argued.
Martin Robins, of the Voorhees Transportation Center, testified and called the program cutback “a very serious retrogression.”
Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, (R-26), of Boonton said he has seen Transit Village projects “stopped on their tracks” because of the economic slowdown, and developers believed they weren’t going to get a sufficient return on their investment.
In some cases, they had to scale back the scope of the project.
Transportation officials said the municipalities have to be more involved in implementing the vision, but added that taking away the program altogether would deprive the towns of a valuable tool.
Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, (D-29), Newark said it’s important for the state to invest in “Smart Growth” projects like Transit Villages.
“Are you suggesting we spend ourselves out of this crisis,” Bucco responded.
“Aren’t we bonding ourselves out of a crisis,” Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-36), Passaic chimed in.
Last year, approximately $500,000 was budgeted for transit village projects.