A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Red Bank Gets a Dose of MOM's TLC

The classic if neverending political fracas lovingly referred to as MOM -- the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex rail line project -- has added yet another grizzly episode to the pantheon of Jersey polemics. The News Transcript says a panel consisting of officials from NJ Transit, NJ Transportation Planning Authority, and each of the three counties involved, drafted a plan that names Red Bank as the lucky junction (at the moment anyway) to connect Lakehurst with New York.

The line to Lakehurst would include intermediate stops along an existing freight line through Shrewsbury, Eatontown, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Wall, Howell, Lakewood, Jackson, and Toms River. There would also be a spur from Freehold to Farmingdale. No new stations would have to be built, according to this plan.

Officials in Red Bank and neighboring towns are putting candles in the church tower and drying their powder, watching anxiously for the rascals to dare approach. Freeholder John D'Amico, who says the plan is the best the panel could muster, is reportedly not in good stead with his colleagues in Freehold because they had to first hear about the decision in the media. Marlboro's mayor is throwing Red Bank under the bus, apparently just happy that the panel didn't choose a plan that would ruin his town.

While D'Amico says an announcement is imminent, others say nothing is settled. It's hard to believe the plan could become a reality without broader support at the county level, but they do call it "railroading" after all. The possibility of a Matawan junction is mentioned in the article, but it continues to be one of the lesser options.

I'm sure it is hard to draw a line through such populous counties and find a solution acceptable for all. But no plan is better than a bad plan. I personally like Red Bank and would hate to see its unique cultural atmosphere destroyed through traffic congestion. And I'm sure those in Red Bank don't wish harm to befall Matawan and its neighbors. There must be a better alternative.


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