A November ballot question approved by the Mantua Township committee earlier this month will measure support for the proposed Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL).
The non-binding referendum was approved through a resolution that will ask voters this question: Do you support the construction of the Glassboro-Camden Light Rail Project?
The two men behind the referendum are Woodbury residents Charles Hughes and Tony Alveario, opponents of the 18-mile rail line whose petition to support a ballot question garnered hundreds of signatures.
“I’d like to thank the administrator, Jennica Bileci, for validating all of the signatures and petitions that we put in,” Hughes noted of the township committee’s role. “It took a lot of work for me.
“We collected over 1,400 signatures,” he added, “and we’re confident that if the resolution is passed tonight, that in the November election, we’ll get 3,000 votes, which will guarantee the success of that question.”
Alveario addressed the meeting despite opposition from other attendees who wanted Mantua citizens to be first to address the issue.
“People that think we are outsiders are wrong,” he maintained. “The GCL is one issue that makes all of us married to one another, whether we like it or not. We’ve heard in the past that people outside of Sewell are really not interested in this issue.
“I went around every single night for four-and-a-half months,” Alveario added. “So I know the people of your community (Mantua) better than anybody else. And I can tell you no matter where you go in (the township) … they’re all concerned about this issue and they all want to have a voice in this issue.”
Alveario and Hughes are well-known as part of the NoToGCL group, who have been spotted wearing navy blue shirts with decals indicating their opposition to the rail line. After the resolution was passed, some of the group shook hands and hugged each other.
The Glassboro-Camden line will travel between those municipalities to help drivers bypass highway traffic, such as that on I-295. Mantua will be one of its stops.
The project was first proposed in 1996, according to its website, and will be managed by the Delaware River Port of Authority (DRPA). But opponents have cited environmental concerns and the potential impact on wildlife as reasons to reject it.
The GCL project is now in its engineering phase, but construction has yet to begin.