(Video courtesy of Gov. Christie’s YouTube channel)
UNION – Gov. Chris Christie joined family, friends and former colleagues today to officially dedicate NJ Transit’s Union Rail Station in honor of the late Congressman Robert “Bob” Franks (R-Union). Franks, who succumbed to cancer in 2010 at the age of 58, was instrumental in securing the federal funds which culminated in the planning, construction and current operation of this widely-used Raritan Valley Line station.
“Bob Franks was truly one of a kind: compassionate, principled and committed to delivering results for the people he served, whether in Trenton, Washington DC, or here in the streets of Union,” said Christie. “This station is the direct result of his leadership and determination to make life better for the New Jerseyans he represented and I’m honored today to dedicate this station with Bob’s wife, Fran, and their three daughters: Sara, Abigail and Kelly.”
Franks served 13 years in the New Jersey General Assembly and eight years as a member of Congress, achieving a notable record of success as an advocate on transportation issues. As a member of the General Assembly, he wrote the law establishing New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund and effectively advocated for numerous improvements to mass transportation.
“There is no doubt that New Jersey is a better place because of the work of Bob Franks,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson. “His foresight in creating the Transportation Trust Fund has enabled our state to continue to expand our mass transportation network and provide a mechanism for the maintenance of our roads and infrastructure.”
As a member of Congress, Franks parlayed his deep passion for public transportation through his service on the powerful Budget Committee and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. He also chaired the Railroads Subcommittee, and was an early proponent of leveraging transportation assets through transit-oriented development. This was specifically manifested in the construction of Union Station in Union Township.
“Using relationships that only Bob could forge, he became a forceful and incredibly effective advocate for federal transportation funds,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein. “His enduring legacy is reflected in the growth of NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line and the entire rail network for that matter, and will forever be illustrated by a rail station that has now been dedicated in his honor.”
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