NJ Politics Digest: To Help Commuters, State Turns to the Coast Guard

NJ Transit train.

An NJ Transit train. File photo

You’d think that a train full of commuters would take priority when it comes to getting where it needs to be. If you’re in New Jersey, you’d be wrong.

A few of the state’s top officials have written to the U.S. Coast Guard, requesting that it prevent vessels from accessing the Portal Bridge in the Meadowlands during rush hour so transit trains may pass. New Jersey officials made their request to the commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz, according to a report at NorthJersey.com.

While Coast Guard regulations prohibit the bridge’s opening from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, maritime traffic can request an opening during a two-hour window in the morning and a 200-minute window in the evening, according to the report. Ship operators must provide at least one hour’s notice.

Amtrak is requesting the Coast Guard extend the rush periods by one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening and require a 24-hour notice for all opening requests, according to the report.

According to the report, 206,000 passengers cross over the bridge daily.

Quote of the Day: “Given the problems posed to commuters by the frequent Portal Bridge malfunctions, we urge you to revise your regulations and eliminate these loopholes,” — A letter from New Jersey officials urging the Coast Guard to prevent vessels from requesting the Portal Bridge’s opening during rush hour.

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NJ Politics Digest: To Help Commuters, State Turns to the Coast Guard