A roundtable organized by NJ Senate Democrats and attended by state and local officials discussed the value of mass transit and its importance in the vitality of downtowns around the state. Attended by NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senator Loretta Weinberg, and others, the Trenton event brought to light the relationship between mass transit and the prosperity of commuter towns. Some insightful comments from local elected officials include:

“We are grabbing a lot of the New York economy…Having young families relocate from New York.”

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum

“As the train station goes, so goes our city.”

Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman

This is an important issue for New Jersey’s future and part of an important trend; recent reports suggest that Millennials are leaving behind their suburban roots and moving to urban and “urban light” cities and towns that rely less upon cars and more upon mass transit. To meet this need (and to reduce the Millennial exodus to New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere), New Jersey must invest in mass transit. And not only does mass transit make New Jersey’s urban centers more attractive to Millennials, it reduces the number of cars on the road for the rest of us and spurs the economy. According to the American Public Transit Association:
“Public Transportation Provides Economic Opportunities & Drives Community Growth and Revitalization

  • Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns.
  • Every $1 billion invested in public transportaiton supports and creates more than 50,000 jobs.
  • Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
  • Home values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.”

[Source: APTA Public Transportation Fact Book]
Read the full story on NJ Spotlight. And the next time you think about mass transit, think about how it helps drive New Jersey’s economy forward.