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NJ Transit, Amtrak have not agreed on Penn Station work schedule

Governor Chris Christie announces new 360-degree cameras on NJ Transit buses at the  NJ Transit Newark Central Maintenance Facility
Governor Chris Christie announces new 360-degree cameras on NJ Transit buses at the NJ Transit Newark Central Maintenance Facility (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

NEWARK —  Gov. Chris Christie said final service reduction plans because of the New York Penn Station rehab project are not yet final.

Answering questions at an event in Newark to announce new 360-degree cameras on NJ Transit buses, Christie said that he and NJ Transit executive director Steve Santoro spoke on Tuesday and hoped to have more information to release by the end of the week.

“We’re still working with Amtrak to try to get to a reasonable position. I’m not ready yet to declare partial success or failure,” Christie said. “I’m not yet to a point where I am satisfied with what Amtrak is saying but they’re being more attentive and we’re getting closer.”

Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert would not elaborate on what is at issue between NJ Transit and Amtrak.

The governor said that NJ Transit is still withholding payment from Amtrak for rent at Penn Station pending improvements in safety and reliability.

He said that summer is the best time to do work as commuters are on vacation making for less ridership. “But there’s no great time to do this. And there’s certainly no great time to have waited as long as Amtrak has waited to do all of these things to have to cause outages of the period of time they’re proposing in their summer plans.”

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said that 25 percent of service will be unavailable at Penn Station during two multi-week periods in July and August because of track closures.

Christie said he is “really angry” at the reduction in service but also doesn’t want more derailments and delays the repairs are supposed to prevent.

David Matthau contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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