In a somewhat crowded meeting on Nov. 13, the Mantua Township Committee announced that a majority of people who voted on a ballot question regarding the Glassboro Camden Line (GCL) in the recent election do not support the project.
According to the Gloucester County Board of Elections, of 5,002 voters, 3,424 indicated they are against the GCL and 1,578 are for it. The results were announced just before the public participation part of the committee meeting.
The committee will wait until the election results are officially certified by the county on Nov. 27, according to Mayor Robert Zimmerman, before it includes a resolution taking a stance against the GCL at its December meeting.
“It’s a methodical process that we’ll do moving forward,” Zimmerman said. “In simplistic terms, we have to wait until the results of the election are certified. We’re not going to do a resolution until the results are certified.”
Members of the Facebook group No to GCL used the public participation portion of the committee session to voice their pleasure at the election results. They gathered signatures in support of the ballot question over the summer, and two of their leaders, Charles Hughes and Anthony Alveario, were also in attendance at the meeting.
“We of the No to GCL have told you all along that in the municipality, the majority of people were against the GCL,” Alveario maintained. “We proved it not just in one area; we went all over the place.
“There was never a doubt in our minds – and I’m talking for Charles (Hughes) and friends that did the walking for miles and miles – that you guys were gonna honor the results of the vote.”
The proposed light-rail project from Glassboro to Camden has been in the works since 1996 and is still in the engineering phase, with Mantua expected to be one of the stops. The project is being spearheaded by the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA). Opposition among township residents stems from concerns about excess traffic and possible damage to the environment, among others.
“I’ve lived here for 38 years and I’ve always been happy with Mantua Township,” said resident Carol Kirby. “But this GCL really disturbs me that we’re not more worried about the safety and security and our residents about it.”
The next committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m.