There was pomp and circumstance in the air as Gov. Philip D. Murphy was in Lyndhurst Friday, April 30, to break ground for what will soon be a state-of-the-art new NJ Transit train station. The governor was joined by numerous other dignitaries, including Mayor Robert B. Giangeruso, Lyndhurst commissioners, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., Freeholder Steve Tanelli, Bergen Executive James Tedesco and others.
While the governor used the occasion to also brief the media on the current COVID-19 numbers in New Jersey, he also took time to praise the leadership in Lyndhurst for its work, not just for getting a new NJ Transit train depot.
“It is an honor to be here today,” Murphy said. “When I first started serving the state of New Jersey, one of the first things I was asked to do was to restore, as best as possible, NJ Transit, to modernize and reform its operations to ensure better performance, to improve its infrastructure and to better ensure the safety of both commuters and workers. …So we’ve accomplished so much to get us to those goals.”
“NJ Transit now runs with a customer-focused culture,” Murphy said, noting the state was ahead of federal deadlines in installing positive traction control on its rails. “No one thought we’d meet these deadlines, but NJ Transit did.”
He also noted the entire NJ Transit fleet is in the midst of being replaced.
But it’s the capital-improvement projects that commuters will most notice, “case in point, this station in Lyndhurst.
“For 107 years, since Woodrow Wilson was president, this station has been a link connecting residents of Lyndhurst and the surrounding communities with the trains it needed to get to work or get to school,” Murphy said. “A lot has changed with NJ Transit in just the past three years, but a lot has changed in Bergen County over the past 107 years. When this station opened, Bergen County was home to about 138,000 residents. And Lyndhurst was home to about 3,000 of their own. That’s what this station was created to serve.
“Now, one-plus century later, more than 1 million people call this county home and those moving trucks are not just bringing people away from New Jersey, they’re bringing a lot of people here. And in that time, the population of Lyndhurst has expanded at least five-fold. Times, as they say, have changed. It’s time for our commuter infrastructure to change, as well.
“Today, we break ground on a new station that will support Lyndhurst and its commuters for the next century. It will be capable of handling the daily riders. It will be safer and will be fully ADA compliant from the get-go. This station will serve as a reminder of Lyndhurst’s past, present and future and will be proudly built with union hands.”
The governor said in addition to it being an historic day for NJ Transit, it’s an “historic day for Lyndhurst.
“Because of the efforts of everyone here, I know this chapter (for Lyndhurst) will be as successful as the one about to conclude,” he said.
Pascrell, Meanwhile, remarked that the day was more important for Lyndhurst itself than anything else.
“This is an important signal,” Pascrell said. “This is your year — so many things are happening. We were just talking about the (DeJessa) Bridge down the street. The plans are in. We’re going to get this done. Thank you so much for your leadership, mayor, as you’ve worked so hard to reach this moment. …this station will benefit the determined residents of Lyndhurst.”
Pascrell noted the new station will provide a “much more comfortable commute for Lyndhurst’s commuters.”
“We’re not just improving the station, we’re improving the neighborhood,” Pascrell said. “Over 1,000 people use this station a day. We want to double it. We want people out of cars, into comfortable trains in mass transportation.”
Pascrell also slammed those who say the COVID-19 pandemic has caused New Jersey’s population to shrink.
“I want to know where they are today,” he said. “And the New York Times better get it right for a change. We’re growing faster than anyone thought possible. People are flocking to communities like Lyndhurst. To meet that movement, we must grow ourselves. Increasing access to public transportation is the best way to meet that.”
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, Pascrell took time to praise the local leadership here.
“Things are happening in America and in Lyndhurst,” the Congressman said. “As America races into the 21st century, New Jersey will be the front-train car. This is a big day for Lyndhurst. And as the President (Joe Biden) would say, ‘This is a big (f-ing) deal.’”
Giangeruso, meanwhile, beamed with pride as he kicked off the ground-breaking ceremony.
“This is the result of cooperation between local officials, state officials, federal officials and NJ Transit,” Giangeruso said. “We give our gratitude to all the officials for this state-of-the-art facility. This will bring a prosperous future and enhance the quality of life for current and future residents of Lyndhurst alike.”
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.