Lawrenceville, NJ -U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today issued the following statement in response to recent developments in the financial crisis:

"I am encouraged that Secretary Paulson has deemphasized the purchase of toxic paper by American taxpayers, which had been the centerpiece of the original plan submitted to Congress by George Bush and endorsed by Senator Lautenberg.  As I have consistently stated since September, this approach could well lead to huge overpayments by taxpayers, unjustified windfalls for the institutions that helped cause the crisis in the first place, gross conflicts of interests and a failure to address the heart of the problem.  

"It is vital that the U.S. government approach this situation with the best interests of the taxpayer at heart.  From the beginning, I have insisted that taxpayers ought to be getting a better deal for their tax dollars by demanding equity in the banks that receive government assistance.  I am pleased that the Administration has decided to change direction and hopeful that that its new approach will provide a better deal for average Americans who are footing the bill.

"I am also pleased that other developed nations are aggressively addressing the financial crisis in a coordinated manner. There will likely be difficult days ahead for the American economy and the economies of the rest of the world, but at least a path forward is now visible. 

"Congress should immediately begin to put in place a regulatory system to assure that such a crisis does not happen again.  It is clear that Senator Lautenberg cannot participate constructively in this effort.  He did nothing to avert this crisis and in fact voted for legislation that helped cause it.  He voted for a blank-check bailout bill that did not provide adequate safeguards.  New Jersey needs new leadership in the Senate to make sure that Main Street never again bails out Wall Street."

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Woodbridge, NJ - During today's toll hike hearing in Woodbridge, U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer rejected Governor Jon Corzine's plan and proposed that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority name a rest stop after Corzine pollster Doug Schoen.  

Zimmer released the following statement:

"Today's revelation makes it clear that the amount of the final toll hike and the way it was been presented have precisely followed the findings of  Governor Corzine's personal polling rather than being based on sound financial analysis or objective need. Accordingly, I propose that the Turnpike Authority name a rest stop after Corzine's pollster Doug Schoen because it is he who deserves credit for hatching this purely political toll hike scheme.  

"At a time of economic peril, government must live within it means the way every family has to.  New Jersey taxpayers are in the midst of an energy crisis, an affordability crisis, a transportation crisis and now a financial crisis. The last thing we need is to further increase the cost of living by imposing higher tolls on struggling New Jersey families and small businesses."

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Lawrenceville, NJ - The Zimmer for Senate campaign today launched a new campaign ad highlighting how Senator Frank Lautenberg has been ducking Dick Zimmer and has been silent on the crises facing our state and our nation. This ad will go up on television next week. 

Zimmer issued the following statement: 

"This ad asks the question: Where is Senator Lautenberg?  He has been silent on the financial crisis, the energy crisis and the affordability crisis that are plaguing New Jersey.  He has failed to explain why, after 24 years of ineffective representation, he deserves another six years in Washington. 

"There have been two presidential debates.  The vice presidential candidates have already squared off.  It is time for Senator Lautenberg to come out of hiding and give New Jersey voters the opportunity to see him and me go head-to-head on the important issues New Jerseyans are facing.

"His campaign has been giving lip service about his commitment to holding face-to-face debates, but, the only televised debate Lautenberg has accepted is in November, less than three days before the election.  Newspapers around the state agree that New Jersey voters deserve better.  Senator Lautenberg should agree to earlier and frequent televised debates, so that New Jersey voters can make an informed decision on Election Day."

To view the new Zimmer for Senate campaign ad, click here.

--Lautenberg’s Own “Monument to Me” –The Lautenberg Train Station to Nowhere--

Secaucus Junction, NJ - U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today held a press conference to discuss this week's "Waste of the Week"--the colossally wasteful and scarcely used Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station at Secaucus Junction.  

Renowned for its extravagance and its emptiness, the Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station, with its glamorous rotunda and flashy skylights, has wasted $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars thus far.  Yet it attracts only a tiny percentage of the passengers it was originally supposed to serve and will soon be obsolete.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station cost over $600 million to construct.  An additional $500 million has been spent on related projects including rerouting of Bergen County rail lines, upgrades to the Northeast Corridor signal systems, local road realignment etc.   

It has also required the construction of the least-used exit off the NJ Turnpike, Exit 15X, at an additional cost of some $250 million.  The reason why the exit draws so little traffic is that the station has no parking facilities, making it impossible for area residents to use it as a feasible commuting alternative. 

Zimmer issued the following statement:

"Welcome to the most extravagant and most wasteful stop on the NJ Transit system, the Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station.  This $1.4 billion vanity project epitomizes the bankruptcy of Frank Lautenberg's brand of pork-barrel politics. So it's entirely appropriate that he had it named after himself.

"We know that Frank Lautenberg has played the pork-barrel game so badly that New Jersey ranks last among all the states in the proportion of its federal tax money that it gets back from Washington--only 61 cents on the dollar. 

"Now we see how Frank Lautenberg is spending that paltry 61 cents.

"While it might have been reasonable to build a modest transfer facility here, there was no reason to squander so many tax dollars on this elephantine boondoggle. 

"It cost over $600 million to build this train station, and an additional $500 million has been spent on related projects.  Another $250 million had to be spent to build Exit 15X off the New Jersey Turnpike.  But, because this cavernous train station was inexplicably built without any parking facilities, Exit 15X is the least-used exit on the Turnpike-the Exit to Nowhere.  

"Originally projected to carry up to 70,000 passengers per day, the station sees only about 8,000.  Since the train station was built, projections for ridership on the lines that pass through it have been cut several times, and automobile congestion has steadily increased. 

"In only nine years, the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) Tunnel under the Hudson River is set to provide passengers with 'one-seat‘ service into New York City, eliminating a need for a transfer-and rendering the titanic Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station obsolete. 

 "A key selling point during the planning phases was bringing economic development to the area.  The plans originally called for five towers with 3.5 million square feet of office space, retail space, and a hotel.  But those plans failed. The developer was required to contribute to the cost of construction but it has abandoned the project, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the $150 million it was supposed to contribute to the station's funding. 

"For the past several weeks, my "Waste of the Week" campaign has pointed out a number of instances where Frank Lautenberg has supported some of the most egregiously wasteful spending projects that have discredited the earmark process, such as the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, North Carolina's teapot museum and Iowa's indoor rainforest, but this gold-plated train station takes the cake. 

"New Jersey deserves better.  We must change the way Washington does business and put an end to pork-barrel spending.  New Jerseyans should be able to keep their hard-earned dollars in their own pockets.  As your Senator, I'll fight to make sure they do just that."

Zimmer's "Waste of the Week" campaign is designed to highlight Senator Frank Lautenberg's record of supporting wasteful spending and pork-barrel politics at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers.  Previous Wastes of the Week were the $300 billion Farm Bill, the $389 million Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, a $225,000 pamphlet on beaver damage, various Monuments to Me spending projects, the Teapot Museum in North Carolina, the Joplin, Missouri interchange, Amtrak's Sunset Limited, renovations for the Scottish Rite Theatre in Collingswood, New Jersey and the EarthPark indoor rainforest in Iowa. 

Waste of the Week, #1: THE FARM BILL

Waste of the Week, #2: BRIDGE TO NOWHERE

Waste of the Week, #3: BEAVER DAMAGE MITIGATION

Waste of the Week, #4: MONUMENTS TO ME

Waste of the Week, #5: N.C. TEAPOT MUSEUM 

Waste of the Week, #6: JOPLIN, MO INTERCHANGE

Waste of the Week, #7: SUNSET LIMITED

Waste of the Week, #8: SCOTTISH RITE THEATRE

Waste of the Week, #9: INDOOR RAINFOREST

-- Zimmer Sits Down with Students at the Eagleton Institute’s Candidate “Conversation” produced by News 12 --

Lawrenceville, NJ - U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today participated in a televised conversation with Rutgers University students hosted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics and News 12 New Jersey.

Originally, the Eagleton Institute of Politics and News 12 New Jersey intended for this to be a debate between Zimmer and Senator Lautenberg.  However Senator Lautenberg refused to agree to debate Zimmer or to engage in a conversation with Rutgers University students.

Zimmer issued the following statement:

"I would like to express my gratitude to the Eagleton Institute and News 12 New Jersey for hosting such an informative event, and I would particularly like to thank the Rutgers students who engaged in a discussion about the important issues facing our state and our nation.

"My only regret is that Senator Lautenberg declined to join the conversation with us today. 

"Unfortunately, his campaign has been giving lip service about his commitment to holding face-to-face debates but he has yet to appear in the same room with me, let alone engage me in a debate.  Senator Lautenberg has failed to tell voters why he deserves another six years in Washington.   New Jersey voters deserve better. 

"New Jersey voters should have the opportunity to see us side-by-side on as many occasions as possible as we express our respective positions on important issues, so that they can make an informed decision in November."

The program will air on Tuesday, October 7th at 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, October 10th at 2 p.m. and Sunday, October 11th at 2 p.m.

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