Riders on Metro-North’s “West of Hudson” trains on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Line trains lost a friend when Orrin Getz left us on March 21. He was 82. Getz was a member of the Metro-North Commuter Council, representing Rockland and Orange counties in New York State. Metro-North, of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), owns the tracks on the New York side, while NJ Transit operates the trains. Trains to Port Jervis use NJT’s Main or Bergen County Lines between Hoboken and Suffern, N.Y.
It is with profound sadness that we note the passing of our Legislative Director, James T. Raleigh.
Jim was a scientist, a historian, and a great advocate. He understood politics, and how officials make the decisions that affect our daily lives. He made history through his brilliant strategies that helped to defeat New Jersey Transit’s plans to build a dead-end, deep-cavern terminal far below Midtown Manhattan—a plan that, at one time, only our organization believed would pose a detriment to the rail riders of our communities. With Jim’s wisdom and advice, and with our hard work, we were able to build an alliance that kept the issue alive until Gov. Christie terminated the project in October 2010.
As an advocate for better transit, Jim cared deeply about our mobility. As a historian, he cared deeply about our heritage. As a scientist, he dedicated himself to the pursuit of truth.
Jim possessed an amazing understanding and knowledge of politics and the legislative process. He had campaigned extensively in Trenton, and to a lesser extent in Washington, for better transit. He made many statements and appearances at legislative hearings, community meetings, NJT Board meetings, and rail conferences.
Jim’s greatest achievement in advocacy was in planning and implementing the campaign to oppose the construction of a dead-end, deep-cavern terminal 20 stories below 34th St. in Midtown Manhattan, the result of changes in the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Project. With significant assistance from Coalition Technical Director Joseph M. Clift and other Coalition members, we were able to build an alliance with other rider advocacy organizations, convince some elected officials and media figures to oppose the project, and keep the issue alive until Gov. Chris Christie terminated the project in October 2010.