LETTER Bucco says rushed N.J. Transit reform won’t increase passenger safety

The Democrats’ rushed N.J. Transit reform bills are premature and do not solve the real problems according to Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco.

Last week the Assembly Transportation panel advanced a bill prior to a federal report released yesterday outlining the causes of the Hoboken Terminal train accident in 2016.

“The NTSB findings are proof that rushing reform won’t solve the problems at New Jersey Transit,” said Bucco (R-Morris).  “The bill advanced last week does nothing to address the three problems identified as causing the Hoboken accident.”

The National Transportation Safety Board found Tuesday that contributing to the Hoboken accident was NJ Transit’s failure to adequately screen and treat such employees for sleep apnea, the Federal Railroad Administration’s refusal to impose rules requiring such testing, and the absence of technology on the tracks to automatically stop the trains.   (Read the report here.)

The board recommended that NJ Transit revise its safety management systems to address sleep apnea, and the Federal Railroad Administration adopt rules to ensure that engineers and other crew members are properly tested and treated for sleep disorders.

“The last thing commuters need is incomplete reform that puts their safety at risk,” concluded Bucco.  “Instead of a piecemeal approach, I recommend we seek a comprehensive bipartisan fix.”

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order two weeks ago asking for a comprehensive audit of NJ Transit’s finances, customer service and personnel practices. He said the results are expected in three months, and the complete NTSB accident report will be available in several weeks.