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New Jersey

Transportation Nation

$38.5 M to NJ Bridge Upgrade Needed for High-Speed Rail

Saturday, April 09, 2011

(New York -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez just sent out a press release announcing federal funds to replace a balky rail bridge that commonly causes delays for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains. The upgrade is considered crucial to bringing the next generation of high-speed rail to the northeast corridor. A new bridge at the site is also integral to plans for the Gateway Project, a proposed two-track rail tunnel under the Hudson. The release, which contains one of Senator Lautenberg's patented references to unnamed Republican operatives out to thwart him, is below.

Federal Recovery Act Funding Secured for Critical Infrastructure Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced that New Jersey Transit will be awarded $38.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to begin replacing the 100-year old Portal Bridge that crosses the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus. With the funding now being provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), work could begin shortly.

“The Portal Bridge is a major chokepoint for thousands of commuters every day and an obstacle in the way of our efforts to improve regional rail transportation,” stated said Lautenberg, who as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee helped write the Recovery Act.  “This federal funding will help replace the bridge so that train riders have a shorter, safer and more reliable commute every day.  Replacing the bridge will also prepare our regional infrastructure for new high-speed rail opportunities that will improve the economy and get cars off the road.  I am pleased to see the Recovery Act again deliver funding for a New Jersey project that will create jobs and benefit our state.  This funding is a good start on a great project and I will continue fighting against Republican attempts to shortchange infrastructure projects like the Portal Bridge.”

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It's A Free Country ®

Former NJ Rep. John Adler Dies at 51

Monday, April 04, 2011

Former New Jersey Democratic Congressman John Adler, 51 has died a month after he was hospitalized for heart surgery. Adler is survived by his wife Shirley and four sons.

Adler was defeated last year after just one term in office in a tough contest with Republican Jon Runyan, a Philadelphia Eagle football player in a race that attracted national attention.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Jersey Sting

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Investigative reporters Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin give an inside account of a federal sting operation that moves from the streets of Brooklyn to the diners of Jersey City, and all the way to Israel. Their book The Jersey Sting: A True Story of Crooked Pols, Money-Laundering Rabbis, Black Market Kidneys, and the Informant Who Brought It All Down details the bizarre crime: Among the 44 people arrested in July 2009 were three mayors, five Orthodox rabbis, two state legislators, and the deputy mayor of Jersey City. At the center of the story was Solomon Dwek, who perpetrated a $50 million Ponzi scheme before copping a plea and wearing a wire as a secret FBI undercover informant.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NJ Schools Supreme Court Showdown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paul Tractenberg, Rutgers School of Law-Newark professor, talks about the constitutional ramifications of a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that Governor Chris Christie wrongly cut school aid. Steve Adubato, Emmy Award winning broadcaster and author of the book What Were They Thinking,  joins the conversation and talks about the New Jersey Supreme Court decision on $1.6 billion in cuts to school budgets.

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WNYC News

Consumer Affairs Warns NJ Residents: Don't Get Swept Up in Flood Scams

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs is sending teams to flood-damaged areas to warn residents about possible scams.

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WNYC News

Two Dead in New Jersey Tour Bus Accident

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two people are dead after a tour bus traveling from Manhattan to Philadelphia crashed Monday night on the New Jersey Turnpike. The crash comes just days after a tour bus crashed in the Bronx, killing 15 people.

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WNYC News

Flood Watch Still in Effect for Some NJ Rivers

Monday, March 14, 2011

A flood warning remains in effect for the Passaic River at Little Falls and Pine Brook, following extensive flooding in parts of the state over the weekend due to heavy rain. Both areas experienced flooding.

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WNYC News

Another Major Passaic River Flood

Friday, March 11, 2011

Even though the rain has stopped in New Jersey, flooding will be a significant issue for the next several days, especially along the Passaic River. The state's Climatologist at Rutgers University over the last several years, major flooding events have happened with much greater frequency along the state's Delaware, Raritan and Passaic Rivers.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Census Results: Garden State Changes

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, is a weekly guest for the month of March. Each week he talks about the 2010 Census results and what they reveal about Americans and New Yorkers. This week he discusses New Jersey.

→  Hear Audio, Read a Recap and Join the Conversation at It's a Free Country

It's A Free Country ®

Census Results: A Shake-Up in the Garden State

Thursday, March 10, 2011

WNYC
Redistricting is a process which is not only arbitrary but aggravating to many people, because politicians are usually most interested in self preservation, and clearly someone in this equation is going to have to be sacrificed.

— Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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WNYC News

Gov. Christie Declares State of Emergency in New Jersey

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie has declared a State of Emergency for New Jersey, with the forecast calling for heavy rain — and the threat of floods — over the next few days.

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It's A Free Country ®

Rothman Warns Against Military Action Against Libya

Saturday, March 05, 2011

WNYC

A day after President Barack Obama asked Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi to step down, a longtime congressional critic of the Libyan leader is urging the United States not to take any unilateral military action.

Democratic Bergen County Congressman Steve Rothman says the U.S. needs to be careful about its response to the tense standoff between Gaddafi and rebels.

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WNYC News

Education Groups Weigh in on NJ Task Force Proposals

Friday, March 04, 2011

A state task force in New Jersey released a set of recommendations designed to improve the state's education system.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Mix: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's A Free Country's The Mix, where we take some of the notable clips and other voices found on WNYC this week and mix 'em up. Voices are in bold, connections are in italics.

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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: Florida High Speed Rail, like ARC Tunnel, Dead Again

Thursday, February 24, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  UPDATED WITH US DOT COMMENTS: Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott is sticking to his decision to kill the Tampa to Orlando high speed rail.

Scott's decision is a major setback to President Obama's goal, put forward in his state of the union, to link eighty percent of Americans to high speed rail within 25 years.

In an unusually sharply worded statement, U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Olivia Alair said “The U.S. Department of Transportation has addressed every legitimate concern Governor Scott has raised with respect to plans to connect Florida through high-speed rail. We have repeatedly and clearly told Governor Scott and his staff that Florida would not bear financial or legal liabilities for the project, and that there is strong private sector interest in taking on the risk associated with building and operating high-speed rail in the state.”

Last week Scott abruptly announced he would be pulling the plug on the $2.7 billion rail line, the first true high speed rail in the U.S.   The Tampa to Orlando line, which was also to stop at Disney World, was to have been complete in just four years -- by 2015.  Scott said Florida's $280 million investment carried too much risk, and that he would return $2.4 billion to the federal government.

But a day after Scott's decision,

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It's A Free Blog

If This is the New Normal...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tens of thousands of Americans gather in the streets of Madison, prompting solidarity rallies around the country as they defend the rights of workers. Big banks, having received record bailouts, continue predatory practices on regular Americans while seeing their own profits increase. The ultra-rich horde more and more of our nation’s wealth while convincing public servants to help decrease their tax burden. Is this the "new normal"?

It is, according to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

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The Takeaway

NJ State Budget Bucks National Education Spending Trends

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Across the country, states' and local governments have been getting to the difficult work of balancing their bottom lines. In New Jersey, Republican Governor Chris Christie proposed a $29.4 billion budget which, he argues, reduces state spening by 2.6 percent for the 2012 fiscal year. The governor went on to describe a "new normal" of practical taxing and thrifty spending for his state, which is currently burdened by an $11 billion deficit. The governor's new normal includes a 15 percent cut to the Dept. of Health and Senior Services, state-wide benefit reform that would increase the amount state employees pay for their health insurance and increase retirement contributions from 8 percent to 30 percent, and a $2.5 billion tax cut to businesses. It wasn't all about cuts though; Gov. Christie increased school aid by $250 million, and gave $50 million to charter schools.

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WNYC News

Christie Corners Dems: Limit Public Worker Benefits or Lose Property Tax Relief

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This year in New Jersey the State Assembly and the State Senate have to face the voters in November. 

And in his budget address, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Democrats they had a clear choice. Either cut state worker benefits by shifting more of the costs to them or forget property tax relief for New Jersey's beleaguered homeowners.

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WNYC News

Financial 411: New Jersey's Budget

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oil prices are soaring due to unrest in Libya, Governor Chris Christie revealed New Jersey's budget and President Obama is talking economics in Ohio.

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Transportation Nation

NJ Governor Christie's 2012 Budget: Is That A Transpo Increase We See?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Governor Christie delivers his budget address in Trenton, New Jersey

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Christie released his 2012 budget today.  And while nearly every agency took a hit, transportation spending will see an increase in state funding.

The budget also specifies that one of the goals this year is to avoid fare increases and expand bus service. This will be welcomed by New Jersey Transit passengers, who experienced a 22% fare hike last year.

Kate Slevin, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was cautiously optimistic. "It's good news for transit riders – and drivers as well," she said, adding that more mass transit would help reduce New Jersey's famous traffic congestion.

More later--but in the meantime, you can read the budget below.

NJ Budget FY2012

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