Meanwhile, Roxbury Township Mayor Kathy DeFillippo said that the renovations and improvements that the track's reactivation will require will be covered by the county, and the costs would be included in the federal stimulus funds the county is receiving for the project.
February, the county applied for the North Jersey Transportation
Planning Authority for $5.8 million in federal stimulus funds through
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this project, contingent
upon federal authorization being received.
of the Chester branch meets the intent of the federal stimulus
legislation by creating employment opportunities not only during
rehabilitation but by the future economic opportunities it will create
in Morris County," said Feyl. "This project has regional, long-term
benefits, and I am thrilled that it has reached this critical
The Chester Branch now serves Roxbury Township
commercial users, but also has the potential to also serve customers in
Randolph Township, in particular the former Westinghouse site, now the
BETA Corporate Park, Feyl said.
"The corporate park has a rail
siding serving the property, and even though there are no current
railroad customers, this could change once the rehabilitation work is
completed and tenants see a reliable rail service option," Feyl said.
Township officials had initially vocally opposed the project, citing
potentially irreparable damage to the Horseshoe Lake bike path, walking
path and motor vehicle access to the rear of the property.
DeFillippo said, however, that via negotiations with the county, all of those concerns would be jointly addressed.
will also be moving the bike trail west, toward the lake, and we will
realign the roadway a bit further west, also toward the lake," she said.
said the county is looking to move quickly with the project, and said
shovels should hit the ground by next summer, latest.
"The goal is for this project to be done by 2010," she said. "They want to move things along."
Manager Christopher Raths said Thursday that the township is currently
in the process of scheduling a meeting with the State Department of
Environmental Protection to see what, if any, permits are needed to
relocated the bikeway.
In his statement, Feyl said that
efficient use of this rail line has the potential to reduce truck
traffic along major roads, including Route 10, Sussex Turnpike, Route
46, Route 80 and other arterial roads in the county. He noted that one
rail car is approximately equivalent to four tractor-trailers.
freight line was donated to the county by Chester Branch, LLC, in
October, and the Morristown & Erie Railway has a management
agreement with the county to continue to operate on the Chester Branch.
The Morristown & Erie also operates the two other county-owned rail
lines, including in Dover and one in Rockaway.
Branch connects to the High Bridge Branch, and these two lines connect
to the NJ Transit line near the Roxbury- Rockaway Township border near
East Dewey Avenue, enabling freight service to connect throughout New
Jersey and nationwide, according to the freeholders.