‘A huge concern’: GCL heats up committee meeting

Residents forcefully oppose Camden-Glassboro train route

Township Solicitor James Pierson (left to right), Mantua Mayor Peter Scirrotto, Deputy Mayor Robert Zimmerman, township Administrator Jennica Bileci and Deputy Clerk Pamela at the July 18 committee meeting.

Public comment at a July 18 Mantua Township Committee meeting that saw ordinances and resolutions passed with little opposition got heated when the  Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) came up. 

“The train is a huge concern,” said Anna Gunn Janda, Mantua resident. “It’s going to be noisy, it’s going to be a mess, it’s going to bring all kinds of stuff. The population density does not exist on the train route to make it worthwhile. 

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“We need a resolution that says we don’t want this train.”

“Two-hundred million is ready to go out the door right now for something that may not happen,” said Joseph Hetzel, regarding fiscal responsibility for the line. He later grew so frustrated, he left the building after being asked to take a seat because he went over his five-minute limit.

“We’re not against mass transit.” said Maureen McCabe, a Woodbury Heights resident, “There are other places that it can be put, not through our small, plain towns.

The GCL is a proposed transit route for transportation between Camden and Glassboro. It has been met with opposition from South Jersey residents due to concerns about its environmental impact, whether its cost is worth the investment and how practical the line itself is. 

Of the nine people who spoke during the public comment phase of the committee session, four brought up issues with the GCL.

“It’s all gonna come down to money,” said Mantua mayor Peter Scirrotto. “No resolution or anything that we do is gonna change that. We’re worried about something we may not even be able to control.”

Other business at the meeting included stormwater issues in the Mantua Pike area, excessive speeding along West Atlantic Avenue and rowdy behavior late at night in Chestnut Branch Park, though none of them provoked comments as forceful as the GCL did. 

“I’d hate to ruin this town,” said Janda. “I want to see us go forward.”


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