U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez announced $400,000 in federal funding Thursday to complete a study on the Hudson-Bergen light rail.
The senators announced the funding at the Second Street light rail stop in Hoboken, praising the light rail system for its importance to the region.
The study is supposed to determine whether or not there should be an additional stop on the light rail system in Jersey City and if there should be re-alignment.
"I see this project as my child," said Menendez, who was part of the initial planning stages of the Hudson-Bergen light rail about 20 years ago as mayor of Union City. About 40,000 people use the light rail every day.
"It's been an extraordinary period of time," Menendez said, "to see something from idea to fruition."
Around the light rail stops, Menendez said, economic development has taken place leading to a "more vibrant local economy."
The grant—which comes from the federal government to New Jersey Transit—is a sign of the rail system's success, Menendez said.
A new light rail stop, which would be built in Jersey City in the 18th Street area, is worth pursuing, Menendez said.
The study will also look into additional light rail capacity and traffic relief on Patterson Plank Road in Hoboken. Light rail cars run along the street, causing occasional traffic backups between the Palisades and Hoboken. The study will review the current onditions and potential solutions to ease traffic congestion.
Lautenberg, who is a self-described "lover of the rail system," said that the transit lines are "critical to the state of New Jersey."
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who hosted the officials on Thursday, called the light rail system "extremely important." Fifty six percent of Hobokenites commute by public transit every day, Zimmer said, the highest rate in the state. "Public transportation," she added, "is so important."
The timeline of the study is still unknown, but Menendez said he hoped it'd be within about a year. It's still unclear whom NJ Transit will hire to complete the study.