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Committee approves resolution opposing GCL

Move formalizes voters' no vote in Nov. 7 ballot question

Courtesy of Ruggieri and Partners

At its final meeting of the year on Dec. 18, the Mantua Township Committee unanimously approved a resolution stating its opposition to the Glassboro Camden Line (GCL).

The light-rail train project proposed by the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) – first introduced in 1996 – would take riders from Glassboro to Camden, with Mantua one of its stops. But area residents have voiced concerns about its potential impacts on wildlife and traffic and the possibility of an increase in crime.

The committee resolution is the result of a non-binding question on the Nov. 7 election ballot that asked residents whether or not they supported construction of the rail line. According to Mayor Robert Zimmerman, more than 60% of Mantua residents voted no. The county certified election results on Nov. 27.

“This resolution specifically supports and endorses the will of the people who voted on the non-binding referendum question that was placed on the ballot on Nov. 7, 2023, with 68.45% being the majority of the voters who opposed the construction of this project,” the mayor said.

GCL opponents took to Facebook to discuss how important the committee resolution is for the township.

“I feel the most important part of the resolution statement is ‘supporting the will of the people,'” said Mantua resident Josie Ladd in a post. “The Nov. 7, 2023 final election votes were recently made official, and it clearly shows the GCL referendum vote was overwhelmingly voted down.”

“It’s no surprise to have a unanimous vote supporting the will of the voters,” Zimmerman explained. “We represented the resident majority of the community, and we did our job by putting a resolution on the agenda and voting on it in this fashion.”

Though the resolution echoes the sentiments of a majority of township residents, Zimmerman stated that it does not affect whether or not the GCL happens.

“With that being said, our residents need to understand that this was a non-binding referendum,” he noted, “and therefore, the resolution has no legal or binding authority relative to whether or not the GCL project moves forward.  

“The sole purpose of this ballot question was to ascertain the sentiment of the voters on this issue, and the committee validated, supported and endorsed this sentiment with a unanimous vote.”

The GCL has undergone 10% into its engineering phase, according to the mayor, with construction yet to begin. It is estimated the job will take three years.

The next township committee meeting will be the annual reorganization meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4, at the municipal building.

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