Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 33
 
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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Princeton’s FreeB “Ghost Bus” Needs More Users, More Publicity

Peter T. Johnson
Hamilton Avenue

Use of Sheriff’s Office to Enforce Trucking Rules Sought by Gusciora

REED GUSCIORA
Assemblyman, 15th Legislative District


Princeton’s FreeB “Ghost Bus” Needs More Users, More Publicity

To the Editor:

Princeton’s best-kept secret is the free jitney shuttle, FreeB, launched in early April 2008. Other than the requisite pictures of local public officials in the press, along with a postcard outlining the schedule to and from the Dinky station that was mailed to Borough residents, no other public notice or marketing has occurred. From Monday through Friday this ghost makes 15 daily round trips in the Borough, usually empty but sometimes with one or two passengers. Of course, without any advertising, no notices or posters at the Princeton Junction or Princeton stations, nothing posted within the Dinky itself, most people traveling to or from the Princeton area to connect to trains at Princeton Junction do not know that the FreeB exists, let alone its schedule. In sum, a brilliant example of successful marketing: a totally ignored product.

Will the taxpayer ever know how much this is costing us? I doubt it.

Peter T. Johnson
Hamilton Avenue

Use of Sheriff’s Office to Enforce Trucking Rules Sought by Gusciora

To the Editor:

In a letter published July 30 titled “Police Action Only a Stopgap Solution to Princeton’s Truck Traffic Problem,” the author states that the crux of the problem lies with the governor and the state legislature, “where the ultimate solution resides.”

While I share the author’s concerns, the fact remains that New Jersey has been fighting truck traffic on local roads for almost a decade. In 2001, I joined other area legislators in putting forth a bill making permanent a temporary ban on heavy truck usage on local roads. This followed the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s 1999 regulations restricting the use of local roads by large trucks.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section VIII, states that only Congress may “regulate commerce … among the several states.” Hence, the control of interstate truck traffic — as commerce —  is strictly under federal purview. Despite our best efforts, a challenge to the NJDOT regulations as well as my bill signed into law was deemed unconstitutional by the federal courts.

Progress on controlling truck traffic was further hampered by the Whitman administration’s initiative to no longer permit local police to conduct truck weight inspections. Instead, only State Police may perform these duties. With the demand for State Police services growing due to homeland security and other crime concerns, one can understand why truckers feel free to traverse Routes 206 and 31 unchecked.

Notwithstanding, since the ability to conduct truck inspections would play a role in limiting truck traffic, I have a proposal that would permit sheriff’s officers to enforce truck regulations. Since it is unlikely locals would be once again permitted to conduct such inspections, at least sheriff’s officers could assist the State Police who have limited resources to maintain a constant presence on our local roads.

REED GUSCIORA
Assemblyman, 15th Legislative District

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