On appeal from Board of Public Utility Commissioners.
For reversal and remandment -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Heher, Burling, Jacobs and Francis. For affirmance -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Weintraub, C.J.
Appellant railroad applied to the Board of Public Utility Commissioners for permission to discontinue all passenger train service and later amended its application to one for curtailment of service. Following protracted hearings, there was adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 20 "declaring the policy of the Legislature against further abandonment or curtailment of passenger rail service pending the final report of the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission." The Board made its Decision and Order suspending "all further proceedings on the application before it until the submission of the final report of the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission * * * and holds the proceeding open so that thereafter the parties to the proceeding may offer such further evidence as they may then deem necessary."
The Appellate Division granted leave to appeal. We certified the pending appeal on our own motion. The railroad seeks a remand to the Board with direction to determine the application on the merits.
In 1952, the New Jersey Regional Planning Commission recommended a comprehensive study to determine the most effective action toward improving rapid transportation for the metropolitan region of New York and New Jersey. New Jersey thereupon created a Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission (L. 1952, c. 194; N.J.S.A. 32:22-1 et seq.) with authority to act jointly with a like commission created by New York (L. 1952, c. 453). A joint report was submitted on March 3, 1954. In 1954, by concurrent action of both states, the commissions were consolidated into a temporary bi-state commission (L. 1954, c. 44; N.J.S.A. 32:22-11 et seq.; N.Y.L. 1954, c. 801). Furnished with $1,800,000, the bi-state commission undertook a comprehensive study through a project director whose report and
recommendations were submitted to it on May 20, 1957. Hearings thereon have been held and the final report of the commission is expected by December 31, 1957. The Concurrent Resolution was filed on April 3, 1957, in advance of the report of the project director, and the Decision and Order here under review was made after that report, to wit, on July 3, 1957.
The Concurrent Resolution reads in part:
"WHEREAS, There have been repeated applications by railroads serving North Jersey commuters and others to abandon or seriously curtail passenger service and such applications are presently pending before the Board of Public Utility Commissioners; and
WHEREAS, Periodic applications for abandonment or curtailment of rail service cause the commuters and the public generally as well as the officials of the counties and communities affected grave concern for necessary transportation and the expenditure of considerable sums of money, time and effort in opposing such repeated applications; and
WHEREAS, Any further abandonment or curtailment of passenger rail service may well interfere with any proposals for an over-all solution of the North Jersey-New York City transportation problems to be advanced by the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):
1. That the public interest of the State requires that there be no further abandonment or curtailment of passenger rail service in New Jersey pending the presentation of the final report of the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Rapid Transit ...