Road to nowhere?

Opposition to GCL a major focus of committee meeting

The township committee heard from Members of Say No to the GCL, a Facebook group, at its Sept. 19 session. Courtesy of Ruggieri and Partners

For the third consecutive month, opposition to the Glassboro Camden Line (GCL) dominated the public participation portion of a Mantua committee meeting, this one on Sept. 19.

The GCL is a proposed light-rail train line projected to run from Camden to Glassboro. First introduced in 1996, the idea has been met with fierce opposition over environmental concerns and the potential for eminent domain. It is currently in the planning phase, with construction yet to begin.

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Members of Say No to the GCL, a Facebook group with about 2,700 members, attended the committee to present its case to members.

“I get their points, but there’s not a lot I can do,” said Mantua Mayor Pete Scirrotto of the Facebook group. “Things are only in the planning phase, and it will be years before they hear anything happens. Everything is out of my control, and I’m trying not to make them more upset. 

“It’s getting more and more political.”

Despite their opposition to the GCL, opponents remained respectful to the committee, but that hasn’t always been the case. One previous meeting was described as a “circus.” But the recent committee session saw one person tell opponents they were in the wrong place if they wanted the GCL to be ended completely.

According to Scirrotto, the committee wants to focus on what it believes are larger issues within its control, like an upcoming fall leaf collection.

“Once those tree leaves fall, they’re everywhere,” Scirrotto noted. “It’s a big deal to us.”

Wet leaves are particularly hard to collect when they stick together, and they also pose a risk to drivers who can easily slip on them.

Some of the ordinances at the September meeting included a salary ordinance and zoning change; 25 measures were approved with no opposition from either the committee or the public, according to Scirrotto.

Though the GCL itself may be years away from construction, hostility toward it remains high. 

“It’s a nice town,” said Scirrotto of Mantua. “We should all get along and talk our problems out.”

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