Thursday, May 26, 2022

Proposed Glassboro-Camden train line takes next steps

Concerns over affordability, public backlash discussed

The Glassboro-Camden Line is expected to run from downtown Camden, through Mantua, and to Rowan University. Shown here is a proposed university station model. Photo courtesy of Delaware River Port Authority

For John Hanson, CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the new year means the proposed Glassboro-Camden Line is one year closer to reality.

The still-unfinished line will travel 18 miles from downtown Camden, through Mantua and to Glassboro, and connect with Rowan University’s campus. It is expected to make stops in Pitman, Sewell, Mantua, Wenonah, Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn and Gloucester City.

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“This project, what it is really going to do is effectively extend the Philadelphia-Camden metropolitan region to allow a greater number of people who really aren’t able to participate now to participate,” Hanson explained.

“This project will connect people to jobs and mentors, to schools and teachers, to doctors and medical facilities, to friends and family, to museums and recreational and cultural activities that people can’t really connect to right now,” he added.

The line is being promoted as a way for college students to commute to school as well as to work at jobs or internships without the need for a car. And with the area’s growing population, the line is a particular benefit.

“Gloucester County is one of the counties in New Jersey that is experiencing the highest rate of residential growth, and with this line, it gives people the opportunity to live in the area without having a vehicle,” DRPA Principal Engineer Michael Howard said.

While the project is still in progress with an uncertain date for completion, the DRPA is aiming for a ridership of 16,000 people a day by 2040, a number calculated during earlier studies of the line.

In Mantua, however, residents have expressed concerns each year as the line gets closer about its affordability and the effect on taxes in the township. According to Hanson, property taxes will not be connected to the project since the cost of the line will be paid through tolls and other resources.

“None of the funding for the line is going to come from residents’ property taxes,” he noted. “It’s not going to be a property-tax issue for residents, and this type of transportation is typically funded through the transportation trust fund, which is largely funded by gas taxes. It’s not a matter of new taxes being collected, it is a matter of allocation of existing taxes.”

More on the GCL, its benefits and the public outcry will be published in the coming weeks. Mantua residents can now visit glassborocamdenline.com for information.

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