By Michael Amsel
Toms River Bureau
Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/16/01
Trenton-Legislation has been introduced that, if enacted, would allow officials to block NJ Transit’s planned upgrading of the rail yard in Bay Head.
The bill, sponsored by state Senator Andrew R. Ciesla, R-Ocean, applies to major changes at rail yards near coastal areas.
“This bill was drafted with Bay Head in mind,” said Ciesla, the Senate Transportation Committee chairman.
NJ Transit is seeking approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection for its plans at the train yard, northwest of Twilight Lake, at the south end of the North Jersey Coast Line.
Some of the proposed changes include building a 35-foot-high canopy and a 950-foot-long pedestal track and installing new directional yard lighting.
Under Ciesla’s bill the government could authorize NJ Transit to make improvements only after consulting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the DEP. Also, the governor may refuse NJ Transit permission to increase lighting, lay additional track or build canopied repair bays.
Ciesla said his biggest concern is the risk to the environment.
“It appears that the majority of Bay Head residents do not want the facility that NJ Transit has proposed,” Ciesla said in a prepared release. “This type of facility is better suited for urban areas where rail yards are much bigger.
NJ Transit officials who met with residents last December said there would be no adverse effects.
“The bottom line is when all the improvements have been installed, this will be a better facility,” Ken Miller, a spokesman for NJ Transit, said at the time. “There will be no disturbance of the wetlands and less noise when the project is completed.
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