Public Transportation Options for the Working Poor Continues to be a Major Problem in South Jersey (Part 2)

Mayor Frank W. Minor, Logan Township

“HELP WANTED”

In 2019, I published an article attempting to create awareness of the discrepancy in the lack of availability of public transportation to local employers versus the abundance of unfulfilled skilled and unskilled job opportunities.   

In summary, I wrote that Logan Township has seen tremendous growth and expansion in its warehouse/industrial parks. With that growth we have seen job opportunities significantly outpace employee applicants, thus creating hundreds of open job positions.      

In 2018 and 2019, I met with over 50 of the Township’s largest commercial employers and/or their human resource officers to understand the cause for unfulfilled job openings. The overwhelming explanation I received was that potentially qualified applicants lacked adequate transportation to get to the job.  

In 2019, we estimated approximately 600 unfulfilled job openings in the combined warehouse/industrial parks within Logan Township. Since then, Logan Township has seen eight new warehouses and distribution centers open with five more are expected to open by the end of 2025.

We project that more than 4,500 jobs will be created, but several hundred may go unfulfilled because of inadequate or unavailable transportation. A further 10 more commercial developers are actively navigating the land use process or permitting process for an additional 8 million square feet and 7,500 more jobs in Logan Township with similar transportation concerns.

While the South Jersey region, specifically, the I95/Rt. 295/Rt. 130/Rt.322 corridor has seen an explosion in commercial development growth (and tax ratables) in the last two decades, there appears to be no corresponding development or plans by the state and counties to specifically address the public transportation needs of those individuals seeking employment.     

Based upon the above average unemployment rates detailed below, many in our region, most specifically, Salem and Cumberland Counties, need employment opportunities.  

  • Gloucester – Unemployment: 4.2% (As of November 2023); Poverty: 7.6% (As of 2022) 
  • Salem – Unemployment: 5.3% (As of November 2023); Poverty: 10.7% (As of 2022) 
  • Cumberland – Unemployment: 6.1% (As of November 2023); Poverty: 15.5% (As of 2022) 
  • National – Unemployment: 3.7% (As of November 2023); Poverty: 11.5% (As of 2022) 

These are people who want to work and support their families, but inadequate public transportation prevents them from filling open job positions. We can change that. It is time to expand public transportation services in South Jersey so that people who want to work can actually get to available jobs.       

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