To the Editor,

Fall is on the way, which means the leaves will soon be changing.

But there’s something that never seems to change: overcrowding, delays, and disruptions on New Jersey Transit.

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As an Essex County resident who commutes into Manhattan every day, I know the travail of the trains all too well – as do all of my neighbors. Overcrowding at Penn, “train canceled” notifications, and long, unexplained delays are so common that they must figure into daily travel plans. Counting on a commute to run smoothly when you have to get to an important meeting would be beyond reckless. And as much as we try to laugh about the dire situation, missing a child’s baseball game or school concert is nothing to joke about.

The extent of this unreliability can be hard to believe at first. When I had just switched jobs a few years ago, I took an early train to make sure I arrived at an important 8:30 am monthly meeting in midtown in plenty of time. Alas, my train sat in the Meadowlands for 40 minutes, forcing me to email my embarrassed apologies. But it was only when it happened again the next month that I realized this was no freak occurrence: a 30-minute cushion is cutting it too close when New Jersey Transit is involved. So now I get up at 5:30 am and take a private bus when that meeting comes around – still trying to repair the early impression I made about my lack of punctuality.

That’s why I was heartened when Mikie Sherrill promised in her campaign for the NJ11 Congressional seat to make full, expedited funding of the Gateway Project a top priority. Now that she is a seated Congressmember, she has certainly delivered. By co-sponsoring bills, testifying at hearings, and building coalitions, Mikie Sherrill has worked hard to bring this project, so crucial for the region’s economic vitality, to fruition. But there is still much work to be done.

Congressmember Sherrill has stayed true to her promise to put results above partisanship. An efficient commuter train system is not a Democratic or Republican issue – it is a common-sense goal for New Jersey commuters of every political stripe. I urge all my neighbors, from every township, to join with me in supporting Mikie Sherrill’s strenuous efforts to get us the funding needed to implement the Gateway Project as quickly as possible.

Thank you.

Matthew Bregman

Montclair, NJ