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Embattled NJ Transit Head Leaving

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 05:00 PM

Jim Weinstein, the embattled head of NJ Transit, will leave the agency by the end of this month.

In an email today, Governor Chris Christie announced Weinstein would be replaced by Veronique (Ronnie) Hakim, who currently heads the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

“Both Ronnie and Joe have been effective, capable professionals who focus relentlessly on getting the job done for our state. I want to thank each of them for their willingness to continue to serve the people of New Jersey in these new roles,” said Christie. “I also want to thank Jim Weinstein for his dedication and service through our entire first term together. I wish him well in the next phase of his career.”

Christie's email said the change continued "the transition to a second-term leadership for the Administration." Hakim would be in place before March 1, Christie said.

In recent months, Weinstein's leadership has come under increasing fire. During Sandy, NJ Transit stored hundreds of rail cars in flood-prone areas, leading to $120 million in damage — not to mention months of frustrating delays for commuters. And earlier this month, NJ Transit was criticized for its Super Bowl performance, when its rail line to the Meadowlands was overwhelmed by thousands more passengers than either the agency or the NFL expected.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who has been critical of Weinstein's leadership, applauded the change — but offered a warning.

"I think Ronnie Hakim has had a successful tenure at the Turnpike and is well regarded," he said. "I think she'll make an excellent executive director. My word of caution: nobody can run that agency without the necessary support from the state budget."

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Comments [2]

Joseph from Collingswood, NJ

I hope that Ronnie Hakim can help us out here in South Jersey. We're often neglected by Trenton, and NJTransit in particular. For example, the Atlantic City line, going from AC to Philadelphia, has no train between 8:18am and 10:27am. That's useless for commuting. And the RiverLINE, which is very well used, stops after 10pm, though hopefully the easing of FRA rules about mixing freight and passenger traffic will fix that this year. Basically, we only have one line, PATCO, that takes us into Philadelphia, while North Jersey has several options for getting into New York. And PATCO has been horribly mismanaged and neglectful itself, lately. We may have fewer people than North Jersey, but we're still an area of 2+ million people who need efficient public transportation.

Feb. 19 2014 03:22 PM

Let's be clear:

Governor Christie appointed Jim Weinstein. The Governor is accountable for the failure that was the Weinstein tenure.

From January 2010:
http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/christie-names-jim-simpson-james-weinstein-to-head-new-jersey-dot-njttransit

Note the first comment to that article. It looks like Boris was right. Christie's policies have done nothing but hurt public transportation in NJ.

"This is bad news for public transit in NJ"
3 Saturday, 16 January 2010 01:25
by Boris

"Anyone who was a Bush or Pataki appointee can readily be considered as incapable of giving public transit the prominence, respect, and budget it deserves in a Western nation. The two appointees are lackluster bureaucrats who were picked by Bush and Pataki for their lack of imagination and for sharing the Republican belief that public transit is the devil."

Feb. 19 2014 10:52 AM

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