New York and New Jersey Connected by Decrepit Trains, Drooping Wires

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Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images

Getting out of New Jersey is not always easy. Following a 22 percent fare increase by NJ Transit less than two years ago, ridership is down, while delays are affecting more people than ever, the Wall Street Journal reports, thanks mostly to bad signals and “faltering overhead power lines.” The Amtrak line between Trenton and NYC is the most popular, but last had its wires replaced in the eighties. And it gets scarier: “Parts of this infrastructure date back to the 1930s, and temperature changes cause the wires to droop.” Drooping wires are bad for both anxiety and efficiency. State transportation budgets are down, and modernizing Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor could cost up to $38 billion. The company started tending to overhead wires in 1996, but stopped soon after because of a lack of funding. Upgrades are now scheduled to be completed by 2017, so we might as well hold our breath for personal jet packs.