Citing threats from NJ Transit, Borough Mayor and Council President Wilkes decline Posner offer

A few months ago, at Borough Council’s invitation, Henry Posner made a public presentation of his proposal to fund the acquisition of the Dinky right-of-way through a public-private partnership which would be be revenue-neutral for the Borough. Months later, the Mayor and Council did an about-face and, through the letter linked below, peremptorily rejected the offer on the basis of assumptions that are incorrect.

The letter makes the wrong assumption that the Posner proposal would require the cooperation of New Jersey Transit. It would not. He proposed only to help the Borough acquire the land with the right-of-way. More strikingly, the letter suggests that New Jersey Transit – a transit agency with a fiduciary responsibility to the public – would not cooperate with any proposal that Princeton University views as inconsistent with its goals. To our knowledge, New Jersey Transit has never taken such a position, at least not in public. The agency is supposed to act on behalf of the public, not on behalf of Princeton University.

Further. the letter goes on to say that New Jersey Transit would terminate the subsidy to the Dinky if a public-private entity were to acquire the land (as opposed to the service). Again, to our knowledge, New Jersey Transit has never stated this. When its representatives appeared before Council over the summer, they said the subsidy was not in jeopardy.

Ironically, the letter ends by inviting Mr. Posner to consider assisting with the study of light rail contemplated in the MOU. The proposed light rail study accepts the University’s right to privatize the current straight shoot right of way that Mr. Posner had offered to help preserve for the public’s benefit. In what can only be seen as a frontal assault on sustainability and common sense, the proposed light rail route would follow a double zig-zag path over to and up Alexander Street and then to the right on University Place and then to the left up to Nassau. The route, in fact, would take the light rail cars to a location within yards of the current Dinky terminus.

You can read the full text here.

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