Assemblymen Vincent Mazzeo and John Armato are urging NJ Transit to announce when the Atlantic City Rail Line, closed since September for installation of positive train control equipment, will reopen.
The two legislators said Wednesday they sent a letter to NJ Transit on Jan. 2 asking for definite information on a reopening date, since the agency was finished installing the equipment in December, but have not received a formal response.
“Now, some officials and press outlets are conveying the reopening may be as late as March," said Armato, D-Atlantic. "That’s unacceptable for our commuters, who’ve endured crowded daily bus rides and lengthy commutes for months on end."
NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder said on Wednesday that rail service planners are evaluating the schedule for restoring regular service to the Atlantic City Rail Line as soon as possible.
She could not say when the decision on reopening may be made, but said talk of a March reopening is not accurate.
"I don't know where those rumors are coming from," she said.
Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, said he believes a shutdown of the line could have been avoided with better planning.
"And with the PTC installation now complete as of December, it was their promise that the Atlantic City line would be open by now," he said of NJ Transit.
Snyder said the agency remains committed to the Atlantic City line, having replaced seven miles of track while installing the safety equipment.
"We added investments around Lindenwold, Cherry Hill and Hammonton," Snyder said. "We are focused on getting it back in service, and we have been continuously keeping the community informed."
Last year NJ Transit finished putting the PTC equipment on 282 of its vehicles, up from just 35 when the year started, she said.
NJ Transit's paperwork for the schedule for putting it on the rest of its total of 440 vehicles has been submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, under the Department of Transportation, said Snyder.
But DOT is affected by the partial government shutdown.
The two legislators called on NJ Transit to also hold a public information meeting in Atlantic County to make sure a new operating schedule is distributed to riders.
"Our commuters deserve nothing less than to be informed and assured when their daily lives will return to normal,” the statement said.