The Atlantic City Rail Line needs a marketing and investment campaign to grow ridership after an eight-month shutdown, according to Assemblymen John Armato and Vince Mazzeo, both D-Atlantic.
The two recently introduced a measure to urge Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit to dedicate a portion of the $457.5 million in the state budget for NJ Transit for that purpose.
“After years of underfunding and neglect, New Jersey Transit will finally get the support it needs to make improvements to re-establish itself as the premier transportation service it was years ago,” the two said in a joint written statement on Monday.
NJ Transit will receive $75 million more than last year, thanks to the Legislature, they said. It is $50 million more than the governor proposed giving it.
“We are calling on NJ Transit to use part of it to conduct a marketing and investment campaign for the A.C. Rail Line to ensure that South Jersey receives our fair share of funding,” Mazzeo and Armato said.
Service was suspended on the Atlantic City line from September 2018 to May 2019, first to install Positive Train Control safety equipment and then because its staff and engines had been diverted to busier North Jersey.
“We can only imagine the negative effects the closure had on its long term viability, not to mention the daily riders who for months needed to seek alternate — and often incredibly inconvenient — forms of transportation,” the statement said.
Absecon and Atlantic City are seeking state designation as Transit Villages to encourage more housing and commercial development within a half mile of their train stations.
And state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, recently set up a meeting between NJ Transit executives and local leaders, so they could advocate for more and better service on the Atlantic City Rail Line.