TAMPA, Fla. -- As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie touts his brand of conservatism and fiscal responsibility in a marquee speech at the Republican convention Tuesday, relatives of 9/11 victims said they think the Garden State may be going too far in cutting transportation for them to this year's memorial services.
For the previous decade, New Jersey has run a ferry to Ground Zero for family members, making it easier for them on a day that all find difficult. But they have been told they will have to make their own way to the tragic site on the 11th anniversary, according to Arnold Korotkin, who runs a listserv dedicated to Sept. 11 and its survivors. He warned of the cut Tuesday:
Dear 9/11 Family Members:
Recently a New Jersey 9/11 Family received a voice communication stating that the State of New Jersey will not be providing transportation to this year's 9/11 ceremony.
Below is a sample letter you can fax to Governor Chris Christie and to Assistant Attorney General, Mr. John G.Holl urging them to reverse this decision.
The Governor's fax number is: 1-609-292-5212
The Attorney General's fax number is: 1-609-292-3508
All of New Jersey's 9/11 families should be informed about this matter and should voice their opinions to both Governor Christie and Assistant Attorney General Holl about the lack of transportation.
TO: The Governor of New Jersey The Honorable Chris Christie
TO: Office of the Attorney General Assistant Attorney General Mr. John G. Holl
We would first like to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Holl for his service and dedication to all of the families of the 760 New Jersey victims of this national tragedy. His kindness and tireless efforts for all of the families shall always be remembered.
It was disappointing to receive a communication today, conveying the information that there will be no transportation from Liberty State Park to the ceremony provided by the New Jersey.
All of the family members , parents, siblings, extended family members have endured not only the loss of loved ones, but immense adverse health impact upon their lives, the absence of transportation and security provided by the state of New Jersey will surely impact them as they attempt to reach the ceremony at the required arrival time.
As 9/11 family members we hope you will re-consider your decision, and at the minimum afford a means for the readers and family members to reach the destination in time for the ceremony.
It cannot be that the lives lost, all 760 , are not worth the cost of a ferry ride, to ensure that they are remembered by the State which they were born in, or lived their lives, or selected as their residence?
A simple acknowledgement would be appreciated.
Update: Aug. 30, 4 p.m.
Dennis Quinn, chief of staff of the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security, said that the ferry service would in fact be provided, but that steps had not been taken to get it going by Tuesday when HuffPost reported it because "the families had not expressed an interest."
He said that the service had never been cancelled, since it is a donated service provided by the ferry company, Seastreak, which has agreed to provide it again. He added that police officials had planned to provide the usual escorts and assistance they generally provide on the anniversary of 9/11.
Here is an announcement sent out this afternoon:
The State of New Jersey, at the direction of Governor Christie, is pleased to offer ferry service, free of charge, to New York City’s Commemorative Ceremony on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. The event will be held at the World Trade Center site.
You MUST REGISTER for the ferry service. Please call Assistant Attorney General John Holl at (973) 648-7948 as soon as possible, but not later than September 7, 2012 and leave a voice mail with the following information.
· Your name and phone number
· Victim’s name and P or T number
· Number of family members in your party
· Be sure to mention any special needs members of your party may have. New York is prepared to provide assistance for those who need it, but it must be pre-arranged.
The ferry service from Liberty State Park to NYC will be
one time only: 6:45 a.m.
The returning ferry will depart New York City for Liberty State Park approximately one half hour after the Ceremony concludes.
Please do not bring food and water or other liquids. Please plan toarrive by 6:00 a.m. to allow time to go through security. The Salvation Army will provide light refreshments. Please do not carry large bags with you.
If you drive to Liberty State Park, please display the enclosed pink “Parking Pass” in your vehicle window on the morning of September 11 to gain access to Liberty State Park and the ferry parking area.