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Board Member Metzger visits the MNRCC

MTA Board members Susan Metzger (Orange County) and James Blair (MNRCC)
MTA Board members Susan Metzger (Orange County) and James Blair (MNRCC)

At the July meeting of the MNRCC, MTA Board member Susan G. Metzger spoke to the Council about her campaign for better West of Hudson service.  Dr. Metzger has been a Board member since 2005 and has recently been appointed as senior policy advisor to Chairman Jay Walder to address cost-effective ways to improve mobility within and to Orange and Rockland Counties.

She pointed out that Metro-North’s West of Hudson service is the fastest growing area in the agency; and that Orange County is the fastest growing county in New York State.  Unfortunately, the Port Jervis Line, 95 miles long, is single track.  With current service at 13 daily trains, there is little room for expansion.  On the Pascack Valley Line to Spring Valley, new sidings in New Jersey have added enough flexibility to provide weekend service; but frequency still remains poor and consists need to be larger, especially when there is an emergency.  Of concern to Dr. Metzger is the coming ARC tunnels which will provide a one-seat ride for these lines into Midtown Manhattan.  There will be increased demand for West of Hudson service  and while Metro-North has been thinking about this, she says that MTA has not.  Capital funds need to be set aside for new dual mode locomotives that can pass through the new tunnels and there is a desperate need for a rail yard mid-way to Port Jervis.

Other topics discussed were:  the possiblity of changes in fare structure in the upcoming financial plan (not known); how the new joint commuter rail MTA Board committee was operating (productively); how to count riders from West of Hudson territory who take the Hudson Line or NJ TRANSIT (MNRCC will request Mail ‘n Ride data); and support for transit-oriented development (towns are still learning what this means).

Susan G. Metzger is a former owner of Lawler, Matusky & Skelly Engineers, LLP, an environmental science and engineering firm located in Pearl River, New York, and now part of HDR/LMS.

She was responsible for large-scale planning and environmental projects including the Comprehensive Port Improvement Plan for the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the Hudson Raritan Estuary Restoration Plan for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. She has published many technical articles.

Dr. Metzger has been a member of the Orange County Planning Board since 2000 and has served as its chair since 2003. She is an honorary trustee and past president of the Orange County Citizens Foundation, where she continues to serve as chair of the Environmental Committee. She is past president of Hudson River Environmental Society and served on the Board of the Warwick Valley School District from 1986 until 1992.

Dr. Metzger earned her bachelor’s degree from Hood College and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany. She received a master’s in Public Administration from the Wagner School of New York University.